Love and truth cannot be divorced. A neglect of either will lead to disastrous consequences:

• Can we pursue “love” without the truth? It is an impossibility. God’s Word is Truth (Jn 17:17). Without the truth, there is no way one can understand what true love is. We will be embedded in the vain philosophies of the world concerning love which are rooted in an unbelief of the one living and true God.

Moreover, the Scriptures declare that love “rejoiceth in the truth”. Refer to 2 John 1:1 and Isaiah 61:8 as well. Those who hate God will not love the truth (2 Thess. 2:10). The belief that there can be love without the truth leads to compromise and a neglect of biblical separation. Hedonism will be embraced, with no commitment to godliness.

Love without truth is a farce. There is no true love without the truth.

• Can we pursue truth without love? It is an impossibility. 1 Peter 1:22-23 says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” One who sincerely receives the truth must be a lover of God and fellow men. Interestingly, the Greek term translated as “unfeigned” is (ἀνυπόκριτον, anupokripton) which literally means without hypocrisy. A person who thinks that truth can be practised without love is fooling himself and is just putting on a mask in front of others, pretending to be a man of truth when he is not. Neither will a man of truth engage in acts of “love” with any hidden agenda. He sincerely seeks the spiritual welfare of his fellow men.

What will happen when there is little love among brethren? The result is unnecessary division and schism. Thus, Paul writes to a church struggling with a lack of charity in the exercise of spiritual gifts, “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:25-26)

The Bible makes it clear that we must speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Jesus also commanded His disciples that we must also love one another (John 13:34-35). Truth must always be pursued and practiced in love.

The neo-evangelical movement began when some grew disillusioned with the excessive negativism of some in the fundamentalist movement. These individuals contend with the minutiae of religious matters, with an insatiable desire for calumny. The result was a throwing of the baby out of the bathwater, where infiltration and compromise was embraced instead of separation. The expression “new evangelicalism” was first termed by Harold Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, in 1948. He was involved in the founding of Fuller Theological Seminary which became one of the figure-head colleges of new-evangelicalism. There soon followed the teaching of limited inerrancy, where the Bible is without error in all that it teaches, except in matters pertaining to numbers, science, history, geography etc. Churches which embraced this spirit were soon led to death.

Will history repeat itself? Time will tell. Everything is in the hands of God. We can only pray that the sons of this generation will be sincere in their faith towards God and His Word.

Dear brethren, love which is rightly understood and practised leads to the magnifying of truth. On the other hand, truth rightly understood must lead one to love. We must love the truth (Zech. 8:19) and we must practice the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Truth and love can never be divorced.

Hezekiah’s Prayer

Was Hezekiah right to make his prayer in 2 Kings 20:3?

We believe it is not an entirely right prayer as his motive of extending his life was for self glory, as seen in verses:

“But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chron. 32:25-26) These verses show that he had the sin of pride in his heart.

“And Hezekiah hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.” 2 Kings 20:13 This verse reveals his pride of his achievements and monetary gains.

Can you help to clarify the answer to the question?

There are two major views concerning Hezekiah’s prayer. One view is that this is a self-centered prayer. Thus, when the Lord granted him 15 years of life, it is to show him what was in his heart. The events that transpired after Hezekiah’s prayer was thus part of God’s chastitive will.

However, the second view considers the fact that the recorded prayer in 2 Kings 20:3 was not a direct request for life. Hezekiah was stating the truth that during his reign as king, he did his very best by the grace of God to walk in integrity before the Lord. Moreover, in the parallel passage in Isaiah 38, Hezekiah expressed that he was willing to surrender to the Lord’s will regardless of any extension of life. “What shall I say? he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.” (Isa. 38:15)

We must also consider the current situation of Judah at this point of time. The people of Jerusalem had just suffered the taunts of Rabshakeh (Isa. 36-37). In this period of the looming Assyrian threat, it would be a huge blow to the people of God if they were to suffer the loss of their godly king. Thus, there was also a consideration of the welfare of God’s people in the prayer of Hezekiah.

No matter which view one holds, the lesson of the narrative is to examine our motive for any prayer of healing. If the Lord grants us relief from our present ailments, we must not use the health which the Lord has granted us to live in pride. As for 2 Kings 20:13 and 2 Chronicles 32:25-26, these passages speak of Hezekiah’s heart being lifted up AFTER the prayer, lamenting that he had not responded rightly to the Lord’s gift of life. Therefore, our motive when we pray for healing, health and strength is of utmost importance before God. When the Lord grants us recovery to fullness of health and strength, we must respond in greater fervour of service for the Lord. What does the Lord want you to do with this renewed strength?

Hope this will provide a clear clarification. God bless.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew