Remember the giving of the Ten Commandments? God did not go into Egypt and say, “Here are My commands. Keep these and I will see what I can do about getting you out of here.” No, God got the Israelites out of there first. He did it by the blood of the Passover Lamb. He did it by destroying their enemies in the waters of the Red Sea. He brought them to Sinai and said, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). He starts with His redemptive work, then He gives the commandments. In other words, He redeemed them and then told them how redeemed people are to live.
We are God’s redeemed people. He redeemed us through the blood of Jesus our Passover Lamb. He destroyed our enemies of sin and death and the devil in the waters of Baptism. His Spirit lives in us. We can trust Him, and we can make good choices based on His commandments.
Most of us life-affirming folks love the phrase, “Choose Life.” That’s good. But when using this phrase among God’s people, something else needs to come first. The choice of life flows from trusting in our God who gave us life. This in turn flows from faith in God who has given us new life in Jesus. You may not be able to trust a god who says, “Choose Life or else.” But you can most certainly trust in a God who says, “I chose to give My life for you.”
So, when the Christian is faced with that crisis pregnancy or that end of life decision, our first question should not be, “What would God have me do?” Rather we should remind ourselves of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. This assures us that He loves us, forgives us, and will be with us to strengthen us. This assures us that nothing is ever hopeless. Then the “What would God have me do?” question really doesn’t even need to be asked. It is usually pretty clear anyway! We can choose life because we have a God who chose us.
This is what we mean when we say Lutherans For Life equips Lutherans to be “Gospel-motivated Voices For Life.” We want everyone to choose life, but we do not start with the Fifth Commandment. We start with the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed. We start with the incarnation of our God in the person of Jesus and His suffering, death, and resurrection on our behalf.
Then we can go to the First Commandment and say, “I will have no other gods before this, my redeeming God.” Then we can go to the Fifth Commandment and say, “I will respect and honor all life as a gift from God. I will not hurt nor harm. I will love my neighbor as myself. I will speak up for those who cannot speak.”
So, choose life, but first … trust in your God who has chosen you in Christ.