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                Date: 23 August 2020

From the Advisory Pastor

Dear Members in Christ,

The Only Way Out of Hell!

Proverbs 15:24 “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” [Synthetic parallelism]

Perfect attendance in church will not deliver a sinner out of hell, yet he tries his best to be found in church. Experiencing the sacraments of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper will not deliver a sinner from hell, yet he will make this a paramount endeavour in his life. Service in church, even as a pastor, will not deliver a sinner from hell, yet he will strive to attain. All Christian activities, no matter how noble the motive or how diligent the devotion, will not deliver anyone from hell. A sinner can attend all the seminaries and Bible Colleges and gain all the knowledge in theology and yet he will not be delivered from hell. These are all important Christian activities approved by God but not as good works unto salvation. The scribes and Pharisees were the best in ritualistic obedience of these spiritual activities but of the Old Testament kind like circumcision, Passover, and all the annual feasts including all their oral traditions. Yet Jesus said “That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20. Their rigid and obsessive external form of near “perfect” obedience to the outward God ordained requirement for a holy witness will not help them depart from hell.

What hope is there for us? 

Proverbs 15:24 shows us the way to the throne of God's grace and mercies.

Is your well-trodden Road of Life from Above?

When we examine the Bible especially the New Testament, we see that the bulk of the revelation of God’s Word is about the life of the born again believer. Salvation begins when a sinner unconditionally surrenders his life to Christ as Lord and Saviour. The life of a Christian is not so much about what he does on the Lord’s Day but every day of his life. Romans 8:12-14 “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” This is just one of many Bible passages on the importance of living a holy life in Christ. This is not about any external form of religiosity.

The “wise” in Proverbs 15:24 refers to believers. Their life is a well-trodden road of life that is from above. The word “way” is not the usual word to describe simply a trodden path. This is a well-trodden road like a high way that many have travelled on. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the saints of the Old and New Testaments have trodden on this road that is from above. It is not a new road that the believer is asked to search out as if it is difficult to find. It is clearly revealed in God's Holy Scriptures for all to read and find this path. 

The Bible is replete with testimonies of men, women and children who have walked this open road. They have found this a worthy road to travel to the end of their lives. The word “above” refers to heaven. This road is revealed from heaven. It is a marvellous road, for the journey begins on earth but ends in heaven. It begins the moment Jesus Christ enters the sinner’s heart. All his sins are washed away by His blood that was shed on Calvary’s cross. The sinner becomes a holy person immediately. His journey on this way has begun! Every moment of every day (not just on the Lord’s Day) he walks this road from above. This road is a holy road where only holy ones can walk. These holy ones do not walk alone, for the Holy Spirit who dwells in them walks with them everywhere they go. These holy ones go where Christ leads them. The light that guides them on this road daily is the perfect Word of God which is the lamp unto their feet and light unto their path (cf. Psalm 119:105). 

Their mind is the mind of Christ that meditates on things above such as how to be a holy witness for Christ. They pray without ceasing knowing that without their heavenly Father’s help they can do nothing! They learn to give thanks in all things because they know that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning them as they walk this way of life that leads to heaven above! Their life is a closer walk with God and this is the yardstick that makes their holy lives worth living and dying for. They have stopped measuring themselves by what they possess. They do not wish to return to their carnal life. To maintain their love for Christ and keep it burning brightly within their soul, they feed on God’s Truth daily. They know that they have turned off from the way to hell and are bound for heaven above because they continue to walk the way of life that is above. 

Have you turned off from the way to Hell?

The destination of every sinner is a place called hell. All human beings are heading in that direction the moment they are born, for they are all conceived and born in sin. There is no exception. But sinners have been given a turn-off from the way to hell. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son came down from heaven above to be the way, the truth and the life. Jesus says in John 14:6b “.... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He is every sinner’s “turn-off.” Using synthetic parallelism the psalmist emphasized that it is not a mere façade of religiosity but a transformed life after the “turn-off.” It is a well-trodden life of holiness which is evidence that he has actually made this turn-off. When he makes this turn-off, his destination to hell is changed forever. He will no longer tread on the road of carnality. Hell (“she’ol”) here is not a reference to the grave even though it can be used to refer to the grave depending on the context (cf. Genesis 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, etc.). Here according to the context of Proverbs 15:24, it refers to the end of life in hell. 

The contrast between the final destination “above” i.e. heaven, and “beneath” i.e. hell, is the clear context. The word “depart” means “turn off.” It is like a person travelling on a road and then he comes to a turn-off. When he enters it, it leads him in another direction. Christ is the only “turn-off”that leads to heaven above. Whenever the gospel is shared with a sinner, he is presented with that “turn off.” The moment the sinner truly accepts Christ as his Lord and Saviour he enters that turn-off. His “way of life” from above begins. Once he enters the turn-off he remains on this well-trodden road of life to heaven above. He will never get back to the old way that leads to hell.

Food for Thought – Have you started to travel on this well-trodden road that leads to heaven?

Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew

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