Zev Porat

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Higher Standard in God's Word

Abortion is bad enough but now our country is faced with the reality that those fetuses that were aborted, mostly out of convenience, were parted and sold like used cars. The media is trying to draw a technical distinction between whether or not the parts of these fetuses were sold, or were transferred from one entity to the next with the receiving company reimbursing the sending company for their expenses with no profit being made. The first item to tackle in this atrocity is the words used by Planned Parenthood. Can we please stop referring to these children as "fetuses"? Let us use a term that accurately describes the character of the entity being discussed. Let us use the term "unborn humans" because by definition of the DNA possessed by these babies, they are human beings. What the recent videos of Planned Parenthood have in common is the casual conversation about a human life being destroyed under the banner of convenience. It is not just a fetus, it is a human being by nature. Moreover, can we please stop referring to the parts of these humans as "tissue"? Again, by definition the subject of these videos are baby human beings and what is harvested from them is not simply tissue. Rather, it is the organs that comprise the entity of a human. Livers, lungs, and hearts are not tissue to be bought and sold; they are organs critical to life as God designed it. Thus when we stop using politically correct terms we gain a completely new perspective of what is actually being discussed in these videos. High-ranking officials within Planned Parenthood are discussing, even joking about, the destruction of a human life in a manner that would yield specific organs coveted by those who wish to pay enough to transport these organs. The technical, politically correct jargon needs to cease and reality needs to come forth.

However, this is not the first time someone has spoken to the need to look deeper than the surface of keystrokes and pen strokes. In speaking to the disciples during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made several statements like, "You have heard it said…but I tell you…" For example, in Matthew 5:22-23 Jesus used this statement to highlight the issue of murder. Jesus called attention to the law found within the Ten Commandments, specifically in Exodus 20:13, which outlawed murder for God's people. Remember the Ten Commandments were given to Moses after he led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. Fast-forward to the time of Jesus, during the Roman Empire, and the people of God had rationalized that they could treat fellow humans any way they wished because they were within the bounds of the law if they did not murder their fellow human. However, Jesus directed the disciples to the understanding that the spirit of the law stretched much deeper than the physical act of murder. The spirit of the law reached even to the point of anger and hatred, which are the underlying issues of murder. Moreover, in Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus used the "You have heard…but I tell you…" model to address the issue of adultery. Again, the law given to Moses stated, in Exodus 20:14, "Do not commit adultery." However, the spirit of the law stretched much deeper than the physical act of engaging in relations with someone other than one's spouse. Jesus directed the disciples to move their understanding deeper. The spirit of the law was such that lustful looks and lustful thoughts were equivalent to the action.

These two examples can lay the foundation of how law should be respected and observed by those governed by said law. Instead of making the observation of a law and then seeking to wander as close to the line of that law without crossing into illegal behavior, one should seek to move as far away from the line so as not to be associated with it. The conversations about the technical actions of Planned Parenthood reveal how our culture wants to snuggle-up next to a line and do as much as possible without "crossing the line" instead of longing to leave wickedness behind and pursue holiness and godliness. If our culture were characterized by the pursuit of holiness, then these recent videos would be a non-issue because abortion would be non-existent. However, abortion is a reality within our culture and believers in Jesus Christ should pray and fight to rid our society of this evil. Moreover, these videos should also convict believers in Jesus Christ of our negligence of holiness. We must ask ourselves, "Where have I sought to get as close as possible to sin without sinning when I should be seeking to run with all strength toward Jesus Christ?" When believers take upon themselves the attitude of running after Christ with reckless abandonment, then the idea of getting comfortable with sin is a non-issue. To pursue Jesus Christ is to leave everything else behind and rest in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, instead of having the attitude of arguing technicalities of what is and what is not sin, let us take up God's Holy Word and pursue an intimate love relationship with Jesus Christ that is transforming by nature and we will leave sin behind. In short, the goal of a believer in Jesus Christ is to match his/her life to Jesus Christ as He is defined in a contextual understanding of Scripture; affirm what He affirmed, despise what He despised, and pursue what He pursued.

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.               

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