Terry R. Baughman
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
The modern idea of revival was born in the days of the Awakening early in the eighteenth century in America. The early revivalists gathered in public places to cry out against moral decline and spiritual depravity. It was a call to repentance and a plea to make a commitment to follow Christ. In time this concept developed to include a series of church services where there was passionate prayer, heartfelt singing, and evangelistic preaching, calling sinners to salvation and Christians to renewal.
Biblically, revival was more of an Old Testament concept where Israel was called to return to the covenant God had made with them as a nation. It often included the challenge of a prophet for the people to change their ways, repent of sins, and come back to the worship of Yahweh alone and a new devotion to their unique religious practices. In all cases is was more than the performance of religious duties, but a spiritual fervor, a renewal of passion to pursue relationship with their God.
While there is no New Testament model of a revival campaign there are many examples of calls for spiritual renewal and the proclamation of the Gospel message to those who were blinded by religious traditions or bound by the effects of sinful practice. The Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on believers, was a prime example of spiritual birth and the call to change, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Thousands responded to this first invitation to follow Jesus. Throughout the Book of Acts the revival continued; believers, “went everywhere preaching the word!” (Acts 8:4).
In a culture of moral decline and increasing lawlessness let there again be people of faith who will arise to challenge believers to renewal and call the lost to repentance. Let there be an awakening in this generation! There must be a change in the atmosphere. There must be a renewed commitment to discipleship, following Jesus.
There must be a renewed focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is central to the Christian message. This is our only message. Paul said, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The Gospel must be the core content of any spiritual renewal. The text above is also translated, “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NIV).
Spiritual renewal is more than calculated commitment or somber repentance for our sinful condition. Revival comes with rejoicing. There was joy in the father’s house upon the return of the prodigal son. There are “times of refreshing” in the presence of God as we experience a return to godly living and spiritual renewal. Peter again preached, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
Let there be a renewed desire for all things spiritual and a renewed commitment to follow the principles and practice of God’s Word. It is time for spiritual renewal. Let that be our prayer and our passion.
“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6).