“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:9, KJV).
The greatest moves of God in our time in the circles of Christianity have been termed “Great revivals”. History has records of many individuals who have revolutionized the “Christian” faith and caused a great impact on their generations. Under the banner of revival, such men have been classed as great fathers who revived the church and moved us forward. Undoubtedly, it is true that most of the great men of God like John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney did indeed transform lives in a way that led to the transformation of communities and nations. Yet it should be emphasized that they could not have done it without the ultimate weapon which is the Word of God. It is from this same Word of God that we would want to expound on what revival really entails or means.
The word revival has been incorrectly linked with the emergence of a new interest or a surge of excitement over previously unexcitable yet important events or conduct. However, the word revival does not really mean this. The word “revive” in Greek is “anazao” which means to live again. It is suggestive of a previous state of life that has become dead and needs to be brought back to life again. Now, this truth is notable because in the New Testament, there is no place where the early fathers and apostles disclosed the need for the present or future revival of the body of Christ. Many in sheer ignorance, devoid of proper understanding in the Word of God, have come out several times to say that the body of Christ needs revival. They have based such statements upon their own intuitions or claims of a dying body of believers who need life again. Buttressing such blasphemous statements are many misplaced scriptures from the Bible. One such scripture can be found in Revelation 2:5 which states: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
Some have even incorrectly misquoted this very scripture purporting that it stated that they should “return to their first love” and have built long sermons of revival on this – Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love (Revelation 2:4). The Bible however did not tell the Church of Ephesus to “return to their first love” as a solution for their leaving their first love. Rather, the Bible said they should “do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). On the basis of these scriptures, many in the Church erroneously purport that if the scripture says they left their first love (which according to them is Jesus), then it means they were no longer saved and so had “backslidden” and become unbelievers. Sadly, they apply this interpretation to the Church and thus, postulate that the way out is revival.
This is not consistent with the spirit of scripture. These scriptures simply refer to believers who have neglected the necessary things that a believer is supposed to engage in. The believers being referred to here had fallen from a certain height but were still the Church and so Jesus addressed them as such. They had fallen but had not fallen away. They needed to repent and come back to do the first works of their first love. They had replaced Jesus with the things of the world and had forgotten the necessary things or works that they were to do as the Church. This however does not mean they were no longer believers or had neglected the faith. They were still believers but they had lost track. They still were zealous about God and hated the deeds of evil but they had not realized that they had fallen. This is the state of many believers. In the race of the believer, he may fall but still remain in his track. He is not yet disqualified for he is still a runner and is in his tracks. He has fallen but has not fallen away from the race and from life.
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28). The life of the believer is a life that does not permit him to perish. As long as one does not renounce the Lordship of Jesus and remains a believer, he has life in himself. This life is not the inferior life of death in the unbeliever. The unbeliever, before he becomes a believer, is dead in his trespasses (Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13). When he gets born again, he gains a life that is of higher quality. This life is the very life of God in him. As long as he remains so, the seed of life in him cannot be corrupted or destroyed. This life is the life of God that flows through the body of Christ. It causes us to be above all other forms of life in earth. This life in a believer cannot become stale or outdated because it is the very life of God. Hence a believer does not need revival because revival means to give life again. To say the believer needs revival is to insinuate that the life in the believer can die. This is blasphemy and a show of ignorance. The body of Christ does not need revival. It is a living organism whose life cannot dissipate or die. Its life is a life that has conquered death and will live forever. Who then needs revival?
Hebrews 6:4-6 says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4–6). For those who were once enlightened, tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, having tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, it is indeed a difficult thing to renew them again to repentance but it is nothing difficult to revive them if they fall away. Thus, the one who needs to be revived is the one who has fallen away and is an unbeliever, not the one who has fallen. The one who has fallen is still on track but the one who has fallen away has left the tracks. Note that the keywords are “fall away” and “renewal”. The believer’s mind can be renewed but not the unbeliever! The unbeliever does not need renewal but regeneration or life. The one who has “fallen away” is the one who has lost his life in Christ by apostasy or rejecting the life of Christ in him. When a believer apostatizes, he loses the superior life of Jesus and becomes a dead man or an unbeliever. Such a man will need revival; brought back to life again. Thus it would be impossible to renew the mind of an apostate but it would be possible to revive such a man: “for to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14:9). There is no place for revival in the Church but rather a renewal! It is renewal or reformation that the church needs but not revival. Renewal of the minds of believers allows the inward life of God to permeate through and reach all who need it. Renewal is an ongoing process in the life of the believer. Jesus Christ is Lord both of the dead and living because he has the power to make alive that which was dead and to bring back to life that which was formerly alive but is dead.
Dear believer, understand that right words are forcible ( Job 6:25). Words are spirit and must not be joked with. To say you need revival is an appeal for a former life that you possessed but have now lost. As a believer, you do not need revival because you still have the life of God in you. What you need is a constant diet of the word which will renew your mind and cause you to do all that is required of you. The socalled revivals of the Church by the early fathers were not really revivals but reformations that were needed in the body of Christ. Stay in the word and live your full life as a believer. Shalom!