Built into the the Gospel message is what I call the sanctity-of-human-life message: the theology that all human life, from conception to natural death, is of great value to God.
The integration of these two messages—Jesus and life—becomes clear as we consider what God’s Word says about this matter:
1. Being made in God’s image establishes the foundation for followers of Christ to practice the Great Commandments (loving God and loving others).
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings; he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female (Genesis 1:26-27 The Message).
Every human being is made in the image of God and is of inestimable value. This truth means that it is wrong to look upon another as anything less! We must view others even higher than we view ourselves; we must see them as God sees them! Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve, is our best example.
2. The Great Commandments naturally lead to the practice of the Great Commission.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them” (Matthew 22:37-40 The Message).
God determined that He would send His only son as a sacrifice to restore the separation between God and His creation, mankind. The worth of His only son is the ultimate value that God Himself placed on every human being. Even if a solitary human was God’s entire creation, if that human fell into sin, God would have done the same thing to restore that relationship. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? This is the loving God that we trust and believe in.
What better way to obey the Great Commandments—to love God and to love others—than to tell our neighbors about Jesus? This is the Great Commission: to be a witness to God’s love for all mankind.
3. The Great Commission originates from the biblical worldview of the image of God.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 The Message).
God values human life above all of His creation. He held nothing back in order to bring us back into relationship with Himself. We are made in His image and He desires relationship with us, and this is possible only through faith in Jesus Christ.
We are preaching an incomplete Gospel message if we tell others about Jesus without sharing the integrated truth of the profound value of each human life. Yes, Jesus came in order to redeem mankind from an eternity apart from God. But why did God send Jesus in the first place? Because He loves us and values us deeply! In the activity of living out the Great Commandments and the Great Commission, we can model for others just how much God loves them. Through us, others can see, hear, feel, and touch the Father’s heart for them. You don’t need a theology degree or a “calling” or a gift to be an evangelist. (You don’t even need to talk good!) You only need to have received the Father’s love for you and be willing to draw for another person a bucket from that bottomless well!