A Biblical Primer on Abortion and the Gospel

Posted by Dan Jarms on October 23, 2022
A Biblical Primer on Abortion and the Gospel
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Paul, the murderer of Christians.

With extremely rare exceptions, abortion is murder. For any reading this, if you have approved or participated in an abortion, the weight of your guilt can be lifted and you can be forgiven and experience mercy. Like the Apostle Paul, who acted within the law but sinned against God, you can find grace.

Abortion is among the sins that our sinless Savior died for. For believers who are deluged with the culture’s approval of abortion, this a primer on biblical principles to help us reject abortion, seek to protect the innocent and promote God’s good purposes in creation.


God makes men and women after his image and in his likeness. He has many good purposes, including representing Him, relating to him, and multiplying to fill the earth and to steward it. Ultimately, mankind was created to display God’s glory. The Bible’s teaching is that an unborn child is valuable to God, formed by God, and a gift from God.

Motherhood and fatherhood are both a privilege and a responsibility. In a fallen world, the ideals are rarely met, yet parents are to train up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. They are not to kill them. The church offers practical hope to every woman debating whether to abort.

Abortion on demand is fundamentally a rebellion against God and his good purposes. Abortion out of autonomy, convenience, and the avoidance of hardship is sin because the baby in the woman is an image-bearing person. Repentance must be sought, and forgiveness will be freely given for those who confess Christ as Lord.

1. God as creator has all rights and privileges over his creation.

Parents have real choices. No one is autonomous from God or others. The claims of those who want autonomy from God for their body are out of line with God’s authority and purposes. God alone is in the place of governing the life and death of his creatures.

Psalm 100:3: “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”
Deuteronomy 32:39: “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal.’”

2. The creation mandate includes having children.

Having children is fundamental to God’s plans to fill the earth with image bearers and to make a special people for himself. The impulse to have children is natural to mankind and fulfills basic human desires.

Genesis 1:28: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (See also Genesis 9:7.)

3. All mankind is made in God’s image and is therefore noble.

The purpose of mankind is to reflect and glorify God. As developing image bearers, the unborn are highly valued by God. To abort a baby is to fight God’s good purposes for the world.

Genesis 1:27:So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Psalm 8:5-6: “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.”

4. The Bible describes children as a gift, not a curse.

In the Bible and in the greater world, children are seen as a joy now and a hope for the future. Yes, they are at times an unwanted consequence of sex, but this does not mean they are to be cast away when they seem unwanted.

Psalm 127:3-5: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

5. A child is a person in the womb and deserving of protection.

Personhood begins at conception and is given uniquely to mankind. The unborn are considered persons simply because they are humans that have begun to live. Personhood is not defined by cognition, a heartbeat, viability, or volition. Case law in the Bible and case law in the U.S. both show the value of the unborn in the fact that there are legal penalties for ending the unborn child’s life.

Psalm 139:13-16: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Exodus 21:22-23: “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life.”

(The phrase “so that her children come out” refer to a live birth. If there is a stillbirth, or death after birth, the one that has caused the death is to receive the death penalty.)

6. Motherhood and fatherhood are both a privilege and a responsibility.

Motherhood and Fatherhood are to be enjoyed and cultivated. They are not prison sentences or weights on achieving one’s self-styled identity.

Ephesians 6:4: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

Mothers are one of the greatest factors in shaping a person, a culture, and a nation. It is not a degrading or demeaning role.

Proverbs 31:27-28: “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”
Titus 2:3-4: “Older women .... are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children.”

Fathers play a highly engaged and formative role in their children’s lives. It is not an isolated and indifferent role.

1 Timothy 3:4-5: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?” (See also 1 Timothy 3:12.)
Proverbs 17:6: “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.”

7. Death is governed by God.

People must follow God’s rules and principles as to when it is acceptable to take a life.

Deuteronomy 32:39 “‘See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.'"
Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."

8. Jesus Christ was born of a woman in order to die for sin including the sin of abortion.

Jesus’ life and death are sufficient to atone for the sin of abortion and the guilt of abortion can be washed clean. King David was forgiven for the sins of adultery and murder (Psalm 32, 51).

Hebrews 10:10, 12: "And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all… But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God."
1 Timothy 1:15: "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost."

9. Christians have a double interest in advocating for the unborn.

Christians are owned and ruled by God both as Creator and Redeemer. God made mankind in general to reflect His glory because they are made in his image. In addition to obeying the commands to preserve a child’s life who was made in God’s image, Christians know some of the unborn will respond to the Gospel and become his followers with a redeeming purpose on the earth. 

Christians are also ready to give of themselves to serve any woman who is contemplating abortion and give her practical hope to keep the baby.

2 Corinthians 5:15: "... and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised."

10. God ordains government to protect the unborn.

Government is to protect all human life, especially the innocent and vulnerable.

Romans 13:1-5: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (See also Exodus 21:22-23 above.)

11. Christians gladly take the privilege of supporting parents and orphans.

Christians are eager to share the load of those who keep their children when having those children is an exceptional burden. Christians gladly take on the privilege and responsibility of caring for orphans.

James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

12. Exceptions to these principles do not nullify the rule but prove the rule that an unborn baby’s life is valuable and that abortion for convenience is sin.

  • Infertility and miscarriage are lamentable. Many Christians want to have children and are unable. Many would be glad to adopt.
  • An anti-abortion stance is not necessarily linked to all so-called “pro-life” positions. The Bible doesn’t command any couple to have as many children as possible. Contraception and a couple limiting the number of children they have are not forbidden in the Bible.
  • Children will grieve their parents. Children can have burdensome health problems. Having children will be financially and emotionally costly. This does not justify murdering them.
  • Many children may go into poor foster care and suffer. Christians who are eager to foster/adopt are far too often seen as the enemy, not the solution.
  • There are times (albeit rare) when one must choose between the life of the mother and the life of the baby in the womb. The difficulty of this choice highlights the value of both mother and child.
  • There are times that a pregnancy was caused by an egregious sin. Because a traumatic sin caused a pregnancy does not mean the ultimate trauma (killing) is a valid response. In fact, Christians are more than eager to help and support the victim and the child.

Jesus is the author of life who was crucified that we may live. Since abortion is sin (with extremely rare exceptions), we must uphold God’s good character and holiness by saying it. We must point to or offer compassionate and helpful alternatives. We must offer good news to those who sinned, believing a lie that there was no better choice. We must offer good news to the proud who now have been humbled just as Christ offered forgiveness to the murderer Paul. We must also uphold the personhood of the unborn and seek to protect them.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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