• Joseph Durso

The Spiritual Nature of Revival

The True Meaning of Revival

Revival is not a tent meeting organized by men. The person who thinks he can act on God's behalf is not wise. God does not respond to the whims and wishes of people. All revivals in history are associated with prayer movements only suggest that God was already working in men to pray. Genuine revival contains the following elements.

Revival is the life of God poured into the hearts of repentant sinners. When a person repents of their sins and places their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save them, they become alive in the Spirit. "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses..." (Colossians 2:13) Speaking to living people, the Apostle Paul was referring to the spiritually dead when he wrote, "You, who were dead in trespasses..." Furthermore, God makes us alive spiritually by bringing us close to Him, "...God made you alive together with him..."

Revival brings the eternal God near and makes Him one of us. "What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life..." (1 John 1:1, 2) God is infinite in every way and bigger than a created being could ever comprehend. God, however, aside from His infinite attributes, is a person with qualities of righteousness, love, integrity, moral purity, etc. When God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, He became comprehensible. Furthermore, in salvation, He raised those who believe in Him from the dead and revived their hearts so they could return His love in a perfectly acceptable way.

In revival, a scholarly pursuit is not the goal; God's person becomes the all-consuming passion. Revival is relational! Often in a Church that becomes a schoolhouse and not a house of prayer, people misunderstand the significance of pursuing God. "And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) The person who pursues God with all their heart seeks after him intellectually, emotionally, and with every decision they can. Revival makes people care about God and not stone-cold academics. Revival causes people to act upon what they believe. "Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak." (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Revival is not all feelings, it seeks God's truth and His love. Just as the scholarly are tempted to replace God with the idol of Biblical theology, even so, the emotionally driven can be seduced into thinking feelings indicate arrival. One must never forget that revival begins in those who are poor in the spirit, according to Jesus. (Matthew 5:3) No one can study their way to revival; however, people can manufacture carnal emotions.

Revival cannot begin by the efforts of people, neither can it be orchestrated by men, but it is solely the work of God's holy presence and will. When God is present and not just thought to be present, people fall on their knees in sadness over their sins. They cry out to God for mercy. Before the first sound of hallelujah over the forgiveness of sins, there is the wail for mercy. The greatest joy comes in the morning following sin's darkest night.

Revival has historical significance. Many revivals took place under Ezra and Nehemiah and other times in Israel's history. Pentecost is the first New Testament revival, which explains the state of the Church at the beginning. At the time of Luther and the Reformation, the Great Awakening in America and Great Britain, and the Welsh revivals during the first part of the 20th Century, to name a few in Church history.

If you would like to hear the account of the revival on the Isle of Lewis, 1949 to 1952, from those who experienced it, listen to the account given by Duncan Campbell.

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