One of the central things that Americans must recover as we seek the end of abortion in our land is an understanding of the concept of covenant. A covenant is an agreement, a solemn oath and bond, between two or more persons, with God or before God and other witnesses, with attendant blessings and curses.
Christians must understand covenant because the whole nature of our salvation is based on covenants. Why is it that we are all sinners, born into sin, born naturally inclined to sin? Because Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden 6,000 years ago. But any reasonable person might ask: but why am I suffering the consequences of somebody else’s sin from 6,000 years ago? The answer is “covenant.” God made an agreement with Adam called the Covenant of Creation, and that agreement stipulated life and blessing for Adam and his descendants if He obeyed God perfectly. But it stipulated death and cursing for Adam and his descendants if he disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam disobeyed, and so he plunged not only himself, but the whole human race into death and sin.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned… ” (Rom. 5:12). But this is why the New Testament calls Jesus the Second Adam, a new Adam. He is the head of a new covenant, a new human race: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). So it is that all who trust in Jesus are united to Him, the obedient one, and they are made righteous. They are transferred from the covenant of creation that was been broken by Adam and all his descendants into the Covenant of Grace which has been kept by Jesus. And that promise is to us and to our children.
But under these broad redemptive covenants are other covenants: marriage is a covenant, for example, between one man and one woman, before God and other witnesses, and when marriage vows are kept it is a great glory and blessing, but Scripture says that when marriage vows are broken, there is cursing and it covers people with violence (Mal. 2:14-16).
Nations may also make covenants before God. Of course the most famous was God’s covenant with Israel, which was a unique and special redemptive covenant, but many Christians have understood that while other nations are not be in the unique position of Israel, they may nevertheless make solemn vows and oaths before God to be obedient to His Word and to seek His blessing on their land. This is exactly what the founders of America did.
The passengers aboard the Mayflower made covenant on November 11, 1620, writing, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God… having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politick…” In 1630, John Winthrop summarized the Massachusetts Bay Colony saying: “We are entered into Covenant with [God] for this work….”
All the colonial constitutions explicitly appealed to God for His blessing and set forth biblical standards for life. The Idaho Constitution begins: “We, the people of the state of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and promote our common welfare do establish this Constitution.” The Washington State constitution begins: “We, the people of the state of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution.” Most of the other state constitutions say something similar, thanking God for freedom and basic human rights and appealing to Him as a witness. And our national government was established on the same principles.
The Declaration of Independence ends with this covenantal pledge: “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States… with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
Like a marriage, we swore solemn oaths to be faithful to the Triune God of the Bible as a nation, and by invoking His name and calling upon Him to bless our nation, we made covenant with the Living God. And the thing to underline here is that God remembers covenants. He remembers the covenants we keep, and He blesses those. But God also remembers the covenants we break, and there are curses that come upon those. In Deuteronomy, when God warned Israel about breaking covenant, He warned them specifically about the kind of madness and bloodlust that could fall upon them for breaking the oaths they swore. In Deuteronomy 28 God says that if they turn away from Him, He will bring foreign nations upon them who will lay siege to their cities until the Israelites are so starving mad that they begin eating the flesh of their own children (Dt. 28:53ff).
We rightly recoil in horror at that kind of atrocity, but it must be said that as a nation we have fallen much lower. The Israelites were warned that if they turned from God they would be besieged by enemies and in their starving desperation, they would turn to cannibalize the fruit of their own wombs. But we are far worse. We are not besieged by foreign armies. We are besieged by luxury and lusts. We are not desperate for our next meals; we are full of good food and frequently obese. We have not turned to the murder of our own children out of desperation; we have murdered our own children out of mere convenience.
While there certainly are often very hard circumstances that face mothers in our nation, there are mountains of resources for them. Many women are lied to and truly do despair, but as a nation, we are beyond wealthy. We are the wealthiest nation on the planet, and we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. And in that condition, we have executed over 60 million babies. While we have not taken to consuming our children directly, we have bought and sold their little bodies and organs for what we call “research” and we have used fetal materials in the development of many of our every day foods and products. This madness is the madness of covenantal curses.
We sometimes shake our heads at the debauchery and savagery of pagan nations that sacrificed their children to their idols. But we are no better. We have sacrificed over 60 million of our children on the altars of career, so-called “sexual freedom,” empowering women, equality, and many other lies.
Supreme Court Rulings
Many of us have been watching and praying for many years for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, handed down 49 years ago today, and in the last year, a great hope has gone on up in our land for the Dobbs v. Jackson case before the Supreme Court which directly challenges Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the two landmark decisions that have claimed to codify the right to abortion in our land. On the one hand this is most welcome and a wonderful opportunity to correct those egregious moral and judicial rulings. I am praying that justice for the preborn is re-established in this land. I am praying for a full reversal of Roe, and for the right of states to protect the smallest and most vulnerable lives in our midst from conception on. And may God be merciful to do it.
But on the other hand, we would be remiss not to acknowledge that Roe and Casey have never been the laws of our land. This is because the Supreme Court cannot make laws. It can only judge whether certain laws are constitutional or not. And even then, we acknowledge that the Supreme Court is not actually the highest court in our land. God’s Word and the court of His justice is the highest court in our land. It still says “one nation under God” on our coins, even if many have no idea which god that may be referring to. But the point is this: the Supreme Court could rule that gravity no longer applies, and gravity would care less. The Supreme Court can rule that boys can be girls, or that boys can marry other boys, and reality, God’s created reality, could care less. It does not matter if you dress up in black robes and say that it is perfectly permissible to chop up little babies inside their mothers’ wombs, at no point does such a so-called “ruling” even matter. It’s still murder. It’s still evil. The “right” to do evil does not exist.
Everyone likes to imagine how they would have acted in times past. Everyone likes to imagine that they would be heroes. When the Supreme Court decided in the Dredd Scott case that black people did not have standing as citizens of the United States, that decision was not valid. It wasn’t true. It wasn’t moral. It was not just. In fact, it would have been immoral, false, and unjust to comply with it. In righteous counties and cities and states, they would have ignored the Dredd Scott decision, and carried on treating all men equal under the law.
But we don’t have to imagine what we would do after a Dredd Scott decision. We have our very own. It’s called Roe. It’s called Casey. At no time and in no place in God’s world is it ever morally acceptable to intentionally end a baby’s life. There is no right to murder in the constitution, and there is certainly no right to murder in God’s green earth. God is sovereign over life and death. Only God can give permission to take life. And if He has not given that permission expressly, it is high handed defiance against Him to take that life that bears His image.
The Hand of the Lord
And so we come full circle to the notion of covenant. Abortion has never been legal, never been moral, never been a right in this land, any more than it is legal, moral, or just to command water to run uphill or to define male and female by the random lusts of psychotherapists or politicians. But the point is that it’s all related. It’s all connected. It’s the same covenantal insanity that leads people to try to redefine marriage or gender or life. And it’s the same covenantal insanity that listens to the madmen when they demand that we go along with it. And by covenantal insanity, we mean the curses of the covenant.
The thing that is really hard for many believing Christians to get their heads and hearts around is the fact that the ultimate cause of this bloodbath of abortion is not Marxists or leftists or Democrats or liberals or pansy Republicans. The hand that has brought all of this upon us is the hand of the Lord. When people turn away from the Lord, and they insist that He let them go their own way, some of the most terrifying words you can ever hear from the Lord are, “thy will be done.” Romans 1 says that when people refuse to acknowledge God, refusing to worship Him as the Creator, and refuse to give Him thanks, God turns them over to madness and folly, the kind of madness that confuses sexuality and gender, the kind of madness that ends in violence and destroys ones’ own children.
But we need not speculate here. We are not merely suspicious that this bloodbath of abortion is a covenant curse for our national sins. Let me read to you the final paragraph from a Supreme Court ruling from 1992: “Our Constitution is a covenant running from the first generation of Americans to us and then to future generations. It is a coherent succession. Each generation must learn anew that the Constitution’s written terms embody ideas and aspirations that must survive more ages. We accept our responsibility not to retreat from interpreting the full meaning of the covenant in light of all of our precedents.”
The astonishing thing is that this quote is from Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In the very Supreme Court ruling in which Roe was upheld, in which the so-called right to abortion was doubled-down on, the majority opinion insisted that our constitution is a covenant “running from the first generation of Americans to us and to future generations,” and they accepted responsibility for interpreting the “full meaning of the covenant.” While the writer and signers of those words seem to have wanted to limit their interpretation to upholding the Roe decision, their own words condemn them. They appealed to the covenant of the first generation of Americans. They appealed to those who wrote and signed the Constitution.
So the only real question that matters is: Before Whom did the writers and signers of our Constitution make their vows? When the writers and signers of our Constitution made that covenant, to Whom were they appealing to bless their oaths or else hold them accountable for faithlessness and treachery? There can be no doubt that the founders of our nation swore their oaths and penned our constitution before the face of the Lord Jesus Christ. As our Constitution itself explicitly concludes: “Done in Convention by the unanimous consent of the states present the seventeenth day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.” The signers of our constitution explicitly appealed to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, even as they marked the birth of our nation.
The Way of Escape
So, we are standing on a brink. And part of that brink is the Dobbs v. Jackson case. It really is a watershed moment where God is giving us an opportunity. But the thing we have to recognize is that it is an opportunity to repent. If we see this as an opportunity to prove that we’re really not as bad as all that, then we’ve completely missed the point. We really are as bad as all that. We are a nation with blood on our hands, and pornographic filth all over our screens. We have been unfaithful to our marriage covenants, and so we have clothed ourselves in violence, and a lot of that violence has been done to our children. In fact, our national leaders, our judges, have explicitly appealed to the covenant to justify the senseless murder of millions of our children. This is no less staggering and damning than the cry of the Jews before Pontius Pilate: “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” We have appealed to the covenant, and so the covenant is being enforced. We have appealed to the covenant, and so the curses of the covenant have fallen upon us.
But God has made a way of escape. The only way of escape is to somehow have the curses of the covenant fall upon us in a way that doesn’t destroy us. And this is why Jesus was crucified on Calvary. Jesus became the curse of the covenant and the curses of every broken covenant, so that all who trust in Him might go free. We have broken covenant, but Jesus has kept covenant perfectly. We have been unfaithful, but He was faithful, even to death. He bore the curse so that all who are in Him may be reckoned already cursed, already judged. Like the Passover in Egypt, when the Angel of Death came through the land and saw the blood over their doors, He passed over. Where the curse was already signified, the curse had no power. This is what it means to trust in Jesus. This is what it means to be under the blood. It means that all of your sins, all of your covenant unfaithfulness was cursed and judged fully on the Cross of Jesus. It means that the curse has already been fully paid already.
There is no other way of escape. God sees our sins. He knows our wickedness. And we have appealed to the covenant. But it says this: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
A proud nation, an unfaithful nation, a lying, and sexually immoral nation will always find new ways to defy the living God and destroy those who bear His image and continue to call down the curses of the covenant upon themselves. A mere reversal of Roe will mean nothing if there is not a radical reversal of American hearts. There is nothing innately great about America, but what has made America great are humble men and women who have kept covenant by faith in a great Savior.
You are here because you want to see the end of abortion in this land. You are here because you believe in a culture of life. But we cannot have that culture of life unless we keep covenant with the Lord and Giver of Life. We cannot have that culture of life unless we keep covenant in our homes and marriages. But where the blood of the everlasting covenant is displayed, a culture of life has already begun. In homes and marriages where sins are confessed and forgiven, a culture of life is growing, and the blood of Christ proclaims the end of abortion in our land.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.