How can it be?

One classic hymn ponders the provision of salvation through Christ by asking the question, “And can it be…”

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

The hymn writer, Charles Wesley, has pondered how it is that he came to experience the richness of salvation — the forgiveness of sin and freedom from sin and no more condemnation for that sin and boldness to approach the throne of God and to be identified with and live in the presence of Christ for eternity.  Can it really be true?

Wesley, who wrote this hymn just days after his conversion, is astounded by this grace because he pondered his sin and was perplexed and amazed that God still lavished him with the grace of forgiveness and salvation — “can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?…For me?…How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

Wesley did what is done too rarely today — he contemplated his sin and saw there is nothing worthy to commend himself to God.  He did not deserve the salvation he received.  For believers the temptation is to believe that we are commendable and worthy of our salvation; we would not say it aloud, but our actions and thoughts suggest we believe in some inherent goodness in ourselves.  And for unbelievers, the temptation is to excuse and overlook and minimize sin — “I’m a good person…I’m not a murderer” is the common affirmation (as if not killing someone is the only benchmark of righteousness, suggesting it’s okay to be a thief and adulterer and gossip and liar as long as one doesn’t kill).

Yet periodically, the horribleness of the unredeemed heart is exposed for all to see.

And yesterday was one of those days, as Planned Parenthood’s medical director explained in a video taken undercover how, “many Planned Parenthood facilities have refined their ability to perform abortions to maximize the profit from the baby’s organs (‘Yesterday I got my first order for lungs…sometimes people want legs, and I tell them legs are easy, I can get those…’). By using an ultrasound during the abortion, the abortionist is able to ‘crush below and above’ the top selling baby organs.”

I could hardly read that paragraph without looking away and gagging.  Yet she reportedly was sipping a glass of wine while talking matter-of-factly about this “harvest.”

If you have not read about this, I have found at least four trusted resources to help us think about this issue:

This horror is a reminder that there is no limit to the depth of depravity in a man’s heart and how any evil can be condoned and embraced when the conscience is killed (1 Tim. 4:1-2).  Because that is true, the believer must first of all not excuse the sinfulness of sin in the life of an unbeliever.  Sin — every sin and any sin in any form — is damnable; we are not gracious to unbelievers when we excuse, minimize, or ignore their sins.  If they do not repent they will go to Hell; and if we say nothing about it, that means we don’t care that they are going to Hell.  Secondly, the believer must give thanks for his own salvation; like Wesley, we must be amazed that Christ died for us and that the Triune God saved us.  Our hearts and actions were just as wicked and evil as those who kill babies and condone unbiblical marriages, though perhaps that wickedness was evidenced in other ways.  Never get over the wonder that God has poured out His grace on you, despite your sin!

The revelation by this doctor has also served the Christian community by reminding us to be vigilant against abortion and to be unafraid to boldly declare and defend the sanctity of all life — for the unborn, the weak, and the aged.  Abortion isn’t about planning parenthood or protecting the rights of mothers; it is about selfishness, convenience, and now money.  As Moore noted, “Those who are deemed too ‘useless’ to be considered persons are quite ‘useful’ to be sold for parts. Those who are deemed ‘unwanted,’ are quite ‘wanted’ when their severed organs bring in money.” This world is not our home and this world is not a friend of Christ or Christ’s followers; we should not be comfortable here and we should not be uncomfortable proclaiming the truth about the world’s desperate condition.

And finally, we must not despair.  Of all people, believers have the confident hope (expectation) that Christ has won the battle with Satan and sin and that all the ramifications of His victory are coming soon (Js. 5:8; 2 Pt. 3:10).  Abortionists will not win; Christ has already won.  And further, “The children torn apart in abortion facilities have no names, but God knows their names. They have no resting places but Jesus grants them rest.”  In eternity, the atrocity committed against these children will be eternally made right, as they are graced to live in the presence of Christ and as God’s wrath is poured out on the sin committed against them — either by condemning the sinners to an everlasting Hell, or by the sinners coming to faith in Christ who absorbed the wrath of God against that sin on their behalf.

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