Lately I’ve been pondering my personal responsibility in obeying the principles of social action that are given in Scripture. For instance…
- How can I personally care for the “widows and orphans” in my circles of acquaintance? James 1:27
- How can I personally offer provisions to care for my loved ones who are in need? Matt 25:34-40
- How can I personally love the “unlovely” as Christ loved rebellious mankind? Phil 2:5-8
- How can I personally uphold God’s standard of marriage (one man, one woman)? Gen 2:24
- How can I personally speak out against abortion — and other “works of darkness”? Ephesians 5:11
We hear these principles preached, but what do we do to personally obey them? I think it’s far too easy to just nod our heads in agreement, and go on our merry way. It’s too easy to ignore the works of darkness, when they don’t reach into our own circles. It’s too easy to forget what goes on in the dark corners of our cities, and the closed countries around the world.
Some people get all fired up about the “social evils” of poverty, abortion, persecution, and homosexuality. They make it their own personal crusade. I even believe God calls some people to speak out extra-boldly against these things, and perhaps even give their lives in fighting them.
But what about the rest of us? What about those who are not called to crusade against those things? Can we really just ignore it all?
I don’t think so!
We are called to be salt and light in the world.
Both of those things require action! Salt and light cannot do their jobs by withdrawing into themselves. They cannot make a difference by clustering with other particles of salt and light. Salt only affects the flavor of its surroundings by doing what it was created to do — adding salt to the unsalted. And light only pierces the darkness by being light — dispelling the absence of light by adding its presence.
As ambassadors of the pure Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, we are like salt, catalysts for spiritual change amidst a grossly wicked world. As children of the magnificent God of glory, we are like light, illuminating His purity within a dark world of sin.
Ephesians 5:8-13 commands us to expose the works of darkness. Why? Because, as children of light, we are to bear the fruit of light, which is described as “all that is good and right and true.” And because, “when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.”
Specifically, let’s talk about abortion. This week marks the 41st anniversary of Roe vs Wade. And many of you probably know someone who has taken advantage of that horrible ruling. But for the rest of us — who have not necessarily been touched by it personally — what is our responsibility?
What is our role in fighting abortion?
I recently came across a free book by John Piper, Exposing the Dark Work of Abortion. It’s a compilation of three (short) sermons, which actually apply not only to the war on abortion, but to any evil that is pervading our culture. Here’s a few parts that stood out to me:
“The idea is that when we “walk as children of the light,” we will shine into places of darkness and cause the darkness to become visible, or to become light. Or to use the words of Jesus, when we let our light shine before men, the dark works of men become shown for what they really are: fruitless and shameful. That’s part of our calling.” (p.8)
“Many believers have a passive avoidance ethic and that is all. In other words they think: if I avoid the works of darkness, and don’t do them myself, then I am doing my Christian duty. I’m clean. I’m in the light. But that is not what verse 11 says. It says you are only doing half your duty. “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness”— that’s an avoidance ethic. That’s half your duty. But it goes on, and in fact puts stress on the next phrase because it is easily overlooked and because it can be very costly: “Rather even expose them!” Don’t just avoid the works of darkness, expose them. This is not avoidance. This is action.” (p.9)
“Our calling is not to win or to borrow the assumptions of the world. Our calling is to stand up and tell it like it is in the eyes of God… Who knows what God may be pleased to do if his truth is spoken boldly and clearly by tens of thousands of evangelical Christians?” (p.25)
I highly recommend you download the book (here) and start praying about your personal responsibility in all this! As for me, I’m not waiting until it affects me personally to start speaking out. I’m going to speak now, because I have no right to hide the light of Christ’s truth!
Other related articles worth reading:
- Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is (Jon Bloom)
- Five Things We Can Do for the Unborn (John Piper)
- How Pro-Life Are You, Really? (Nancy DeMoss)
What else can we do to speak up against abortion?
How can we join together in fighting the works of darkness?
Original photo source: Thomas Leth-Olsen