Pastoral Letter 17 Sep 2023

My dear readers,

Answering Remaining Questions from Calvary Pandan Church Camp 2023 (12)

Question 1: In 2 Chronicles 18:18-22, it is mentioned that the Lord sent forth a lying spirit. How can God send forth a lying Spirit? Could you explain this passage?

Answer 1: 2 Chronicles 18:17-23: “And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil? 18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. 19 And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. 20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? 21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. 22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee. 23 Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came near, and smote Micaiah upon the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee?”

The context: King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat had allied together to fight against the Syrians. The custom before a battle was to seek counsel from prophets to see if they would have victory against their enemies. The false prophets led by Zedekiah had prophesied that they would have the victory. However, King Jehoshaphat was suspicious and asked for another prophet of the LORD. Michaiah was called. The messenger who fetched Michaiah told him to play along and tell the king he would win. Michaiah did so. However, the king did not believe what Michaiah said. Michaiah then told the truth that King Ahab would lose and die. King Ahab complained to King Jehoshaphat that Michaiah would not prophesy good unto him. Then Michaiah told a “story” or a parable that pointed to Zedekiah and his team of prophets as liars. They claimed to come from God, but they were lying spirits. Using a “story” was not an uncommon way of speaking, as when Nathan told a story that pointed to King David as the adulterer (cf. 2 Sam 12). Also, Joab sent a woman to tell King David a story to bring his son Absalom back from exile (cf 2 Sam 14).

There are no lying spirits in heaven.

Question 2: Could you explain the doctrine of election? Is there a point where it is impossible for someone to be saved?

Answer 2: The doctrine of election is taught throughout the Bible. The doctrine of election can refer to salvation but is not limited to it. The doctrine is based upon the sovereignty of God.

The text that teaches the doctrine of election clearly is Ephesians 1:3-6: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” [Emphasis added] God’s children’s salvation is never an accident or an afterthought. Every believer’s salvation is special to God. God chose every single believer by His special grace. Why did He choose a believer? No reason is given other than that God chose according to His sovereign choice. All sinners are in the same state of total depravity. Even the believer's ability to believe, i.e. his faith, is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Since every aspect of a believer's salvation originates from God, his salvation is in God's absolute hand. He cannot lose it. Once he is born again and becomes a child of God, he remains a child of God forever (Rom 8:38-39).

Since no basis is given for the sovereign choice of God, no man can charge God for being unfair. It is by His sovereign will that He chose. God does not have to explain Himself to anyone. Romans 9:20-23: “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” [Emphasis added]

It is important to note that God’s election is a blessed doctrine to comfort believers, especially those with painful upbringings. They must understand that God chose every aspect of their lives – when, where and to whom they were born. God has ordered their salvation and who they are to be. In God’s time, they are saved by Him. The doctrine of election cannot be used as an excuse to reject the gospel of Christ. No sinner should tell God he is not saved because God had not chosen him. The reason is that no one knows who God has or has not chosen. The one who believes in Christ as Lord and Saviour and is saved is the chosen one. If the sinner rejects Christ, he will be condemned as he will die in his sin and be cast into hell because of his sins and refusal to receive Christ as Lord and Saviour.

When someone becomes impossible to be saved, it is based upon judicial hardening, or God has ordained that person unto perdition where he is destined for condemnation and will not be saved. In the case of the former, the example is Pharoah, who hardened his heart from the first to the fifth plague. When the sixth plague came, the Bible said that the LORD hardened his heart (cf. Exod 9:12). From that point onwards, even when the plagues increased in severity and afflicted Pharaoh, he could not be saved. Pharaoh died in the Red Sea with his charioteers when he foolishly plunged into the Red Sea in his pursuit of Moses and the Israelites who crossed the Red Sea.

In the case of the latter (ordained to perdition), the text that teaches the sovereignty of God in ordaining some to condemnation and destruction is Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Men like Judas Iscariot, the Antichrist and the False Prophet of the Book of Revelation are ordained for destruction. Will there be others who are in the same state as these three men? The warning from God is to stop turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, denying the Lord and refusing Christ’s salvation. All who call themselves Christians but still lie, cheat and sin without repentance need to beware of this fearful warning, for they might find themselves as the ungodly ordained by God for destruction.

Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew
Advisory Pastor

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