It is often said that future generations of Americans will sit in judgment of ours when it comes to the issue of abortion. Our culture will eventually change its tune and embrace the sanctity of all of life just as we have now come to see the evil of Southern slavery. As a Christian, I could never vote for or endorse a politician who supports abortion. Abortion violently takes the life of unborn children and is our nation’s greatest shame. While I wish that one day future generations of Americans will look back on abortion as the greatest evil our nation has ever participated it, I do not believe this will happen until Christ returns. I hate to be a pessimist, but I am afraid that this hope is unfounded because it misunderstands why abortion has become an untouchable sacred rite to those who are in bondage to their sins.
The demand for abortion will never go away until Jesus returns because fallen mankind is in bondage to sexual sin. There will always be a demand for abortion because it is viewed as a necessary form of contraception to avoid the consequences of sinful behavior. As long as there are sinners who are in rebellion against God in their sexual sin, there will always be a demand for abortion because sexual sin will endure until the return of Christ. I’d have to become a postmillennialist in order to believe that the demand for abortion will pass away before the new heavens and new earth arrive. But the Scriptures teach that the period of time before the second coming of Christ will be marked by great persecution and much unbelief (Dan 7:21-22, 25-27; 1 Thess 5:2-4; 2 Thess 2:8-12).
It is true that institutionalized slavery has been abolished in our nation, but abolishing slavery is a much easier task than abolishing abortion. One is a change in the economy of a nation which can be accomplished through coercive force, the other is a change in the heart of a person. While slavery is now illegal in America, it is still alive and well in the form of human trafficking. Even if by God’s grace abortion was made illegal in America, that would not diminish the demand for it one bit. No law has the power to change the human heart. Only God through the gospel can do that. If abortion was made illegal like slavery is, then surgical abortion would just be replaced by private chemical abortion. We cannot expect the government to do for us what only God can. Man’s sexual autonomy must be dethroned before Christ can rule over a person’s heart. It takes the regenerating power of God to change the nature of those who are in bondage to sexual sin.
The Constitution sowed the seeds of the end of slavery by asserting that all men are created equal and the same could be said for those who are unborn. But the abolition of slavery took place when our nation was not ashamed of its Christian heritage. In contrast, our culture has become radically anti-Christian and the power of the government has been restructured around the Supreme Court which is viewed as the ultimate authority. The mechanism for changing the laws of our nation on abortion is broken given the present form of our government. But even if the laws were changed, that would not change the demand for it. That is why we must work for a different kingdom and seek to transform this world through sharing the gospel with the lost even if our beliefs are only vindicated on the other side of history.