Pastoral Letter 19 Jun 2022

My dear readers,

What kind of mouth do you have?

Proverbs 10:11: “The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

Only believers are blessed with a righteous mouth. The righteous mouth stems from a righteous heart. A righteous heart is a salvific work of Christ when He baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit. He imputes them with the righteousness of God making them righteous children of God. God sees His children in this new light as if they have never broken any of His commandments, i.e. as if they have never sinned against Him before. They are forever righteous in Christ.

This is the permanency of the God-given imputed righteousness. Romans 4:3-8: “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Therefore, only children of God have righteous mouths that are wells of life.

The literal translation of Proverbs 10:11 is, “A well of life is the mouth of the righteous but the mouth of the wicked covers violence.” The chiastic structure emphasizes the stark contrast between the two mouths. The mouth of the righteous brings life to all the people around him. He is not able to give life to anyone in himself. God alone is the Giver and Taker of all life. God gives life through His children whom He has made righteous. This is obviously not physical life but spiritual life. All mankind are born in sin. They are all in need of spiritual life. As Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

A sinner is given life through the water (i.e. the gospel of Christ according to Scriptures) and the Spirit (i.e. the Holy Spirit who takes the gospel and brings conviction and conversion). The sinner prays the prayer of salvation and receives Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour. When this happens, Jesus Christ sees the sincerity of the sinner’s confession and He then baptizes him with the Holy Spirit. He is at once made righteous and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit now makes him a righteous child of God. He has just experienced spiritual life. When the believer shares the gospel, isn’t his mouth righteous as it speaks forth the Word of God? Sinners are transformed into righteous saints by the power of the gospel of Christ! What an amazing privilege to possess such a mouth! The Apostle Paul testified of such a power in 1 Thessalonians 1:5: “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”

This is not limited to sharing the gospel; it also includes the building up of the faith of believers. When teachers and counsellors and preachers share the Word of God and believers’ lives are touched and changed to become more like Christ in holiness, godliness and righteousness according to Scriptures, can we not also say that they have the mouth of righteousness? May all preachers, teachers and counsellors who study and share the Word of God be encouraged and be strengthened in the inner man as you serve the LORD Jesus Christ. You are a mouth of righteousness to Christ as you speak His Word on His behalf, and all who hear will be convicted by the power of the Word of God. This includes speaking up for Christ at home, work and school. When the Word of God is shared under any circumstance, the righteous standard of God is made known. All the Words of God, i.e. the Bible, are righteousness for they proclaim the holy standard of the God of heaven and earth! Do not be afraid to speak the truth of God. Be bold and courageous in speaking the truth and always be constrained by the love of God in Christ.

However, in contrast, the mouth of the wicked is covered with violence. It is as if every word he utters is to hurt and to destroy. Nothing good comes out of his mouth. “Good” is defined by God as an intrinsic goodness, possessing eternal and spiritual values. The picture portrayed here (in Prov 10:11b) by the LORD is that of a child eating a chocolate ice cream and his messy mouth is covered with chocolate. The messy mouth of the wicked is covered with the chocolate of violence. His words are sweet with flattery. He gossips to spread hurtful words to destroy lives that once were held in high regard by others. He despises such destructive experiences in the lives of believers. He holds others in high esteem just as Jesus taught all His disciples to do.

Mutual Christian love and care for fellow believers must not be torn down by the wicked mouth. Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” For the one with a wicked mouth, his mantra for life is to “let all things be done through strife and vainglory; and in high-mindedness to tear down others and esteem self as better than all. Look every man on his own things only and care not for the things of others unless by caring he benefits from it.” This sums up the mouth, life and heart of the unregenerate sinful man. This has been his life of bondage.

The worst part is that he thinks he is a Christian because he calls himself one. By his profession he mars the name and image of Christ. When he lies, he makes Christ a liar. When he deceives, he makes Christ a deceiver. When he gossips, he makes Christ a gossiper. When he flatters, he makes Christ a flatterer. Tragically these mouths of wickedness are also found in seminaries and Bible Colleges as well as churches. They stand behind pulpits with their colourful regalia of pomp showing forth their high theological education to intimidate, proclaiming their deceptions with the motive of self-aggrandisement. How many lives have been ruined by these mouths of the wicked, including the ones who attack Christ and the Word of God! They malign Christ and His holy and perfect Word of life by their malicious words through mouths that are covered with spiritual violence, the worst kind of violence!

At the same time, they enter churches and ruin the lives of true believers who trust their lies and deceptions. Families are wrecked. Christ has been rejected and disdained because of these wicked ones that masquerade as Christians. Sinners who have been devastated by them hate Christ more than poison! They would rather die in their sin and be cast into hell than to be saved by a Christ that they have maligned and caricatured into the image of the god of this world! The hurt and harm that have been done to the cause of Christ is unimaginable and cannot be fully known by man except God.

May God help all His children who are truly born again in Christ to be very circumspect and be guarded in what comes out of their righteous mouths. The righteous mouth brings forth life, but the mouth of the wicked is covered by violence.

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

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