The question of whether restrictive laws on abortion lead to fewer maternal deaths, or more maternal deaths, is hotly debated.
Philippa Taylor looks at some recent research.
... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
We know that nothing we do or do not do can earn us salvation -- it is a free gift from God. Sometimes we almost get the feeling when he hear Christians speak that our spiritual growth is also a gift from God for which we can do nothing.
In these verses Paul shows us that the Christian life is, in fact, a partnership between God and ourselves. We do something -- `work out' says Paul; and God does something -- `God is at work'. This should not be too difficult for us to understand for there are parallels in everyday life. You help your patients by providing them with a cure, but they on their part must co-operate actively. To borrow from Paul, they have to `work out' their healing even as you are `at work' in (surgeons literally!) them.
As William Barclay puts it so wisely: `There can be no salvation without God, but what God offers, man must take. It is never God who withholds salvation; it is always man who deprives himself of it'.
Finally, what about `fear and trembling'? Again, Barclay says: `It is not the fear and trembling which drives us to hide from God, but rather the fear and trembling which drives us to seek God in the certainty that without his help we cannot effectively face life'.
O Lord, never suffer us to think that we can stand by ourselves,
and not need thee.
A prayer attributed to John Donne
Further reading: Phil 2:1-18. 2 Pet 1:1-11.
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