Christlikeness

     The recent overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 has caused a firestorm of protests by abortion advocates who are doing all they can to continue providing women the option to end the life of their pre-born babies, calling it a “Constitutional right”!  What these folks are failing to acknowledge (or are just blatantly ignoring) is all the evidence that the pre-born is really a person and not just some “fetal tissue.”  

     One of the greatest deterrents to mothers aborting their babies is the use of ultrasound. Once a pregnant mother sees the pictures of her “child” in the womb, with all his or her distinct features (including its gender!), she is much less likely to go through with an abortion. 

     In King David’s prayer of repentance, he stated: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psa. 51:5). It is not that the acts of giving birth or conceiving are sinful, but that from the moment of conception, a person possesses a sinful nature. From the moment that the egg and sperm unite in the womb, a child’s life begins and then develops for the approximately nine months of human gestation, at which time God, in His amazing design, enables the mother to give birth to her child.  

     Isaiah, using the analogy of the conception and development of a child in a mother’s womb, wrote in reference to the nation of Israel: “Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb…” (Isa. 44:2). And Jeremiah writes, concerning God calling him: “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations’ ” (Jer. 1:4,5). 

     Not long after conception, ultrasound pictures help us watch the embryonic development. At about three weeks, a heartbeat can be detected. At six weeks, brain waves can be measured and at eight weeks, the stomach, liver and kidneys are functioning and fingerprints have been formed. The baby can urinate, make a fist and feel pain.Every cell in the unborn child contains human genes contributed by the mom and dad.  He is developing features that will resemble his or her parents.  

     The Apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in the Churches of Galatia in north central Asia minor that were founded on his second missionary journey, was concerned about their spiritual growth or development. It seems that folks referred to as “legalistic Judaizers” had persuaded the new converts to Christianity to go back under the bondage of the Law. He wrote a letter to help them get back on track, saying, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?…It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 3:2,3; 5:1).

     Paul was not only the evangelist who had labored to bring to the Galatians the Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation to all who believed” (Ro. 1:16); but he also had a pastor’s heart, concerned about their spiritual growth as “new-born believers.” In fact, in Paul’s list in II Cor. 11 of all he suffered in spreading the Gospel, he mentions at the end  “the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (II Cor. 11:28). As parents, we never outgrow our children. Someone said, “When they’re little, they’re a handful; but when they’re grown, they’re a heartful!   When they are little, they step on your toes; but when they’re grown, they step on your heart!”  That’s what Paul was experiencing as he tried to help the Galatian believers with their confused spiritual lives. In Gal. 4:19, he expressed his longing for them: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” His goal for them? Christlikeness.  Paul expressed that same goal in his letter to the Christians in Rome: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Ro. 8:28,29).  

     The verb Paul used in Gal. 4:19 (“Until Christ be formed in you”) is the same verb used to describe the development of the embryo in the womb.  As we spend time in the Word of God and in prayer and in fellowship with our Lord, and live in obedience to Him, depending upon Him, we are doing what Jesus commands in Jn. 15:4 (“Abide in Me”).  Fruit starts to appear which He (the Vine) produces in and through us (“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control”…Gal. 5:22,23).  We start looking more like Him. Christ is being “formed in us” (Gal. 4:19).  That was Paul’s goal for those he had introduced to Christ. That is God’s goal for each one of us.  How much of Christ do others see in you and me?  “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave 

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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