November 19: James 1

"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" (Jam. 1:27).

In a sermon preached in 1999, John Piper took this text (James 1:27) to address the issue of abortion. In a powerful application, he made the following point: "If God wants us to care about  the orphan whose life is endangered because his parents are dead, he would want all the more that we care about the child whose life is endangered because his parents choose to make him dead."  His point is both moving and powerful: if we are to care for widows and orphans, we must care for women who are contemplating or have committed abortion.

In an essay reflecting on John Piper's testimony to the silent holocaust of abortion, Justin Taylor writes:

"When we talk about abortion, we are talking about not just destructive ideas but a deadly practice, resulting in real people who are being killed every day. We are not just talking about sin, but talking to sinners--those who support the right to abortion, those who promote the practice of abortion, those who have aborted their own children, or those who have sat silently through the holocaust of the unborn."

But to these the gospel is offered:

[Citing Piper in a sermon preached in 1989] "No one is cut off from Christ because of past sin--any past sin. What cuts a person off from Christ and the fellowship of his people is the endorsement of past sin. For the repentant there is forgiveness and cleansing and hope."


[See Piper's sermon entitled, "Visiting orphans in a world of AIDS and Abortion," James 1:26-27 (January 24, 1999) @ Justin Taylor's essay can be found in For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2010), 328-350).