Fear for this man, but do not fear him.
Politicians are always talking, writing, communicating and making news in one way or another, and it is easy sometimes to ignore them as one would any background noise. But sometimes a person in the public eye utters a phrase that makes you stop, think, and shudder. That moment came for me when Justin Trudeau complained that the US was backsliding on abortion rights. It caught me off-guard, because the word, backslide is so Christian, so religious, even Evangelical. It is the language of serious preachers calling the wayward to repentance. It is a perfectly good word for its purpose: it is a call to revival! The fact that Prime Minister Trudeau used it not only once, but again prior to meeting with the US Vice President, betrays a religious fervour in his support of the right to abort. The dogmatism of the Prime Minister and his party is clear: abortion is a Charter right (even though not contained in the charter). In Canada, there is no law regarding abortion. So legally, abortion can occur at any time up to the point of birth. Canada is now only outdone by some jurisdictions in the US where post-birth infanticide (it can’t really be called abortion after birth). The right to terminate a child’s life functions as a sacrament of secularism (Doug Wilson makes this abundantly clear in this podcast from the Ezra Institute). One’s position on abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide is in fact a salvation issue. It is a sin (murder) and 1) sin breaks God’s Law and places us under His judgement (Romans 3) and 2) advocating for that sin is open rebellion against God (Romans 1:18-32). For the purposes of this article, I propose that one cannot be a Christian and support or encourage abortion. To support sin is to live in sin and to be excluded from the Kingdom of God (1 John 3:4 & 1 Corinthians 5:1).
But it isn’t my point to prove the horrendous nature of abortion in this article, or even how it functions as a human sacrifice for secular gods. That it is a form of execution of innocent human life, sometimes by cruel torture, is well-documented for those who are willing to look at it critically and objectively. The frantic, bizarre and uncontrolled emotions directed toward anyone who would even suggest an abortion limit is the stuff of daily news.
My point here is something else: I fear for this man. He is not ready to die. When a man’s heart is hardened to the extent that he feels he must use the language of religious revival to enforce his point, he is near the point of being forever lost. Hell awaits, whether he lives another year or forty more years. He is not ready.
The sudden death of the young (37), progressive, Christian and abortion advocate Rachel Held Evans on May 4th of this year has made me sensitive to this heart-matter. She always claimed that she opposed abortion but rejected any limits on it whatsoever. If this was her heart, she was not ready to die.
There are times in human history where something so momentous, so sweeping is on the horizon, that those who believe they are in control of history are blind to how they are merely a part of the history of God’s making.
An event like this one occurred in the week leading up to the crucifixion:
47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50 Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” 51 He did not say this of his own accord, but being the high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. John 11:47-53
14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. John 18:14 (ESV)
Caiaphas was as opposed to Christ as any man who ever lived. Having witnessed His miracles and hearing His teachings, His mastery of the Scriptures, his heart hardened beyond His ability to understand what he said. Here was an evil man who spoke the absolute truth and had no idea of the actual meaning of his own words. He spoke thus be God demanded it of him in his office of the high priest.
As important as the current debate over abortion will prove to be in our time, it does not compare to what Caiaphas said of Christ; but it does point up the fact that Christ, from the cross, said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 (ESV). The men responsible for the death of Jesus were not ready to die. God withheld His wrath from Jerusalem for another forty years.
Some men and women act as though they are gods, and Christians need to be wary of them. But Christians also need to remember that Caiaphas served at the pleasure of God, and not a minute longer. Likewise, no prime minister, president, governor or government will rule longer than God permits. We can say with confidence that Justin Trudeau, with his heart so hard, is Prime Minister by God’s permission. That being true, we must fear for him, but not fear him, for we fear the Lord.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; — Daniel 2:21a (ESV)
We do not need the permission of man to advocate the life of the unborn, disabled, ill, or elderly. We need only to remember that “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)
Our fear must be for the lives of those who are unready for judgement. It is the fear we might have if we watched a man carelessly backing onto a precipice, unaware of his fate. Unless something changes, he is doomed.