Andrew Cuomo does not love his unborn neighbor the way God’s law requires. And neither do I.
Before you protest, take a careful look at Luke 10:25-37. The parable of the Good Samaritan is familiar to nearly everyone, even non-churchgoers. Everyone thinks they get it. Socialists say its about the redistribution of wealth. Conservatives say its about giving more to charity. Religious people say its about helping the poor with Christian love.
Truth is, we all need to take a closer look. If the text ruins your day, you get it. Let’s jump in and take a look.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
The primary context of the passage is not social justice. It’s salvation. A lawyer schooled in the Mosaic Law challenges Jesus with a question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gives a chilling answer. “What’s written in the law? How do you read it?” The lawyer knows exactly what Jesus is driving at and answers correctly: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus affirms his answer with devastating clarity. “Do this, and you will live.”
Whoa. Why did Jesus answer that way? The lawyer just asked how to get to heaven and Jesus says nothing about the gospel. He tells the man go do what the Law of God demands. Love God perfectly. Love your neighbor perfectly. Then, you will live. We find out why Jesus said this in the next verse. The man was self-righteous.
When the lawyer attempts to justify himself by asking, “Who is my neighbor?,” Jesus replies with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable flips the question from “Who is my neighbor?” to “Am I a good neighbor?”
Here is where it gets real. If we think the story is simply about showing kindness to poor people, we have another thing coming. Take another look at verses 30-37. The love Jesus illustrates here is perfection: flawless self-sacrifice, flawless love for someone who hates you (remember, Jews despise Samaritans), flawless, unlimited financial sacrifice for the needs of a complete stranger, flawless giving of our time—not just once, but every day without fail. Nothing else is acceptable to the law of God.
Problem is, who loves like that? The lawyer should have fallen to his knees and cried out, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner!” But instead, he seeks to justify himself.
We have a real conundrum. The Bible says without righteousness, no one will enter the Kingdom of God. It then says there is none righteous. Applied to the topic of abortion, the parable of the Good Samaritan is bad news for everyone reading this sentence. Whether you’ve had an abortion or not, no one in your church—or, anywhere on the planet—loves their unborn neighbor or any neighbor the way the law of God demands. The best pro-life advocate you know fails the test. Mother Teresa fails the test. The local pregnancy center director fails the test. I fail that test. In short, we are not righteous.
There’s only one fix for our failure to love righteously. We need an “alien righteousness”—not something out of a popular horror flick—but a righteousness outside of us that we can’t manufacture. Thankfully, the righteousness we need is the righteousness God provides through Jesus. “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22). Here we have the perfect alien righteousness. And it’s a gift! We aren’t made righteous by doing good stuff. We’re declared righteous because God provided a perfect substitute to stand in our place condemned. Paul writes in Romans 4:5, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” You read that right. God is in the business of justifying the ungodly—sinners like you and me who fail to love. Forget about justifying yourself. We have grace greater than all our sin.
That’s a game changer! Post-abortive men and women can now experience true forgiveness knowing that God accepts them on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, not their own. Listen, if you’ve participated in an abortion decision—whether you’re a man who encouraged a woman to abort or a woman who made that decision because you thought you had no other way out—I have incredibly good news for you. When you trust Jesus to save you, God the Father is no longer your judge. He’s your dad, and He adopts you into His family as a dearly loved child.
If we truly understand the gospel, our motivation for loving our unborn neighbor changes from merit to gratitude. As adopted sons and daughters of God, we don’t do pro-life work to earn God’s favor; we do it because we have God’s favor. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become more Christ-like in our love for our neighbor.
All this is amazing news, but we’ll never appreciate the extent to which we’ve been rescued from the judgment we deserve without taking a good hard look at ourselves through the lens of the Good Samaritan. How do we measure up loving our unborn neighbor? The score sheet should drive us to our knees. It leads to but one conclusion: Until we die to the law as a method of salvation, we are lost—just like the lawyer in the story!
We need to repent for justifying ourselves. We’re sinners who haven’t loved the unborn as we should and no one likes to face that. It’s easy to see why. Our culture teaches us to celebrate sin! Feminist Katha Pollitt says we should stop apologizing for abortion. After all, vacuuming out your womb is no different than vacuuming out your house! We also have “Shout Your Abortion” and “Kids, Meet Someone Who’s Had an Abortion”—all attempts to justify evil. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, “Christian” abortionist Dr. Willie Parker declares himself a “Good Samaritan” to women wanting abortions. The deception here is breathtaking. Abortionists are not Good Samaritans. They are substitute saviors.
Substitute saviors can’t save us. Only Jesus can. Run to Him as your only hope.