But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:4-7
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is coming up this weekend, and to honor that we would like to share what we believe adoption has to do with the sanctity of human life.
At any stage of life, a human is a human – loved profoundly by our Creator. God knows us before we are even born, as expressed in Jeremiah 1:5. Hopefully you have felt and experienced how much God loves you firsthand. It is also described throughout the Bible, such as in Ephesians 2: “because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ.”
It is this love, from God, that teaches us to love and protect one another. As it is written in 1 John 4:19-20, “We love Him because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
Jesus Christ especially cared about the most vulnerable members of society, and encourages us to do the same: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” (Luke 14:13)
Loving other people, and protecting the vulnerable, of course means ensuring that the innocent are not killed by human hands. In fact, in Proverbs 6:16-19 it is stated that the Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood.
Some who argue in favor of allowing abortion argue that there are too many orphans, and that allowing a child to be born into a difficult life is more cruel than killing said child in utero. This rationalization leads to the evil taking of an innocent life, and does not solve any real issues.
It is true, however, that the plight of orphans is a very serious and tragic problem that deserves our utmost attention. 17.8 million children worldwide have lost both parents, according to the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
As mentioned in a previous post, we think orphan care encompasses a broad range of issues. An orphan is a vulnerable child left without adequate familial provision and protection from evil. So, by this definition orphans include many, many more children.
In order for these children to have the life, love and protection that we know they need—and should have—in order to thrive, it is absolutely essential that Christians answer God’s call to care for orphans.
Job 31:16-19 states, “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless– but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow– if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments, and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint.” Job says to curse himself if he does not do these things (and notice how many times he mentions the fatherless specifically)—that is how important they are to God!
Caring for the fatherless is also discussed in Exodus (22:22-4), Isaiah (1:17), Psalm (many times!), Deuteronomy (14:28-9), Jeremiah (also many times), Malachi (3:5) and Hosea (14:3). There are probably even others beyond those!
In the New Testament, orphans are also mentioned many times. James 1:27 states that, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Everyone starts life as a spiritual orphan—whether or not we have human parents—because we are orphaned from God. But as Jesus states in John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” It is stated in Ephesians 1:5-6 that God “predestined us to adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved.” God addresses our condition of spiritual fatherlessness through spiritual adoption.
We know that children are a blessing just from interacting with them. Psalm 127:3 even says that children are a gift and a reward from God. Children and humans at all stages of life need advocates, and as James 1:27 reminds us, visiting orphans is a necessary part of pure religion. For some of God’s children, visiting orphans will look like extending the offer of adoption to those yet to be born.
Whether God is calling you to adoption or to some other form of orphan care—such as getting involved in an organization that advocates for orphans who may be at-risk in the womb—remember what He says about caring for those in need in Matthew 25:40: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”