Last night in our Sunday Evening Service at ABC, we were studying 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. It is important for us believers sometimes, to go back and clarify the basics of the gospel message. The three non-negotiables: that Jesus died for our sins according to scripture, that He was buried, and that He rose from the dead, according to the scriptures. Fundamental. Foundational. Non-Negotiable. Deny one of the three, and the other two fall apart. We all need to be reminded from time to time of what is “most important,” as the HCSB translates in verse 3.
But when we got to verse 8 last night, something happened. The Holy Spirit really filled our hearts and challenged us as we looked at this verse in depth. Paul wrote that after the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, He appeared to three basic categories of people: church officials (Peter, James, Apostles), large groups (the Twelve, the 500), and himself.
“Last of all, as to one abnormally born, He also appeared to me.” 1 Cor. 15:8, HCSB.
Other translations read “born out of due time” or “unwanted,” and other things. The Greek word Paul chose here is ektrōma. It is the word for “abortion.” He elaborates by recalling his sadistic past, having persecuted the church of God and encouraged and participated in the execution of Christians. When Christians thought of Saul of Tarsus, the word that came to mind was “enemy.” I can even imagine some confused believers praying for Saul’s death – so that the message of Christianity could be spread unhindered. That seems justifiable to many of us at times. Nobody wanted Saul. He must have been considered completely unworthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unreachable. Unchangeable. Altogether unwanted.
But the Lord Jesus reached down in the Christian culture’s womb of disdain and fear of uncertainty, and loved Saul. The risen Lord Jesus desired Saul when no one else did. He intervened and adopted this discarded child of Adam. Changed his name, and gave him new life. Life with purpose. Life with significance. Even when everyone else looked on him with noses turned upward in disgust. Jesus loved him. And Jesus saved him.
What happens when someone with a disastrous reputation walks in the doors of our churches? What happens when a tattoo-ridden, mohawked, baggy-pants, sin-scarred individual who obviously is “not from around here” graces the doors of our fellowship? Do we turn our noses up in disgust? Do we write them off as unreachable? Is our first thought, “wow, he is beyond help!” ???
Who have we spiritually aborted in our communities? Who have we decided is not worth the effort it would take to nurture and disciple … the time required to invest in life? Who do we see as a nuisance instead of an opportunity? A drain on Christian society? Who would we rather spiritually abort than reach down into the nasty grime of sinful desolation and extend a heart and a hand of love?
God forbid we ever look upon someone and believe they are unworthy of the gospel of Christ. He is a God of spiritual life. Not spiritual abortion.
Christians, we need to take some of our own advise: Choose Life.
Grace and Peace,