What is a Revival? – by Charles G. Finney

TEXT: – “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

It is supposed that the prophet Habakkuk was contemporary with Jeremiah, and that this prophecy was uttered in anticipation of the Babylonish activity. Looking at the judgments which were speedily to come upon his nation, the soul of the prophet was wrought up to an agony, and he cries out in his distress, “O Lord, revive thy work.” As if he had said, “O Lord, grant that thy judgments may not make Israel desolate. In the midst of theses awful years, let the judgments of God be made the means of reviving religion among us. In wrath remember mercy.”

A need for revival presupposes that the church is sunk down in a backslidden state, and revival consists in the return of God’s Church from her backslidings, and in the conversion of sinners.

A revival always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the Church. Backslidden professors cannot wake up and begin right away in the service of God, without deep searchings of the heart. The fountains of sin need to be broken up. In a true revival, Christians are always brought under such convictions; they see their sins in such a light, that they often find it impossible to maintain a hope of their acceptance with God. It does not always go to that extent; but there are always, in a genuine revival, deep convictions of sin, and often cases of abandoning all hope.

During a revival, backsliders will be brought to repentance. A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God. Just as in the case of a converted sinner, the first step is a deep repentance, a breaking down of the heart, a getting down into the dust before God, with deep humility, and forsaking of sin.

During a revival, Christians will have their faith renewed. While they are in their backslidden state they are blind to the state of sinners. Their hearts are as hard as marble. The truths of the Bible only appear like a dream. They admit it to be all true; their conscience and their judgment assent to it; but their faith does not see it standing out in bold relief, in all the burning realities of eternity.

But when they enter into a revival, they no longer see men as trees walking (Mark 8:22-26), but they see things in that strong light which will renew the love of God in their hearts. This will lead them to labor zealously to bring others to Him. They will feel grieved that others do not love God, when they love Him so much. And they will set themselves feelingly to persuade their neighbors to give Him their hearts.

So their love to men will be renewed. They will be filled with a tender and burning love for souls. They will have a longing desire for the salvation of the whole world. They will be in agony for individuals whom they want to have saved; their friends, relations, enemies. They will not only be urging them to give their hearts to God, but they will carry in the arms of faith, and with strong crying and tears beseech God to have mercy on them, and save their souls from endless burnings.

A revival breaks the power of the world and of sin over Christians. It brings them to such a vantage ground that they get a fresh impulse towards heaven. They have a foretaste of heaven, and new desire after union with God; and the charm of the world is broken, and the power of sin overcome.

When the churches are thus awakened and reformed, the reformation and salvation of sinners will follow, going through the same stages of conviction, repentance, and reformation. Their hearts will be broken down and changed. Very often the most abandoned profligates are among the subjects. Harlots, and drunkards, and infidels, and all sorts of abandoned characters, are awakened and converted. The worst part of human society are softened, and reclaimed, and made to appear lovely specimens of the beauty of holiness.

2 Comments

America may have crossed over into judgment when it favored President Clinton after his lie to cover up infidelity. We chose mammon over God as our economy was more important than integrity. It was a few short years later when the World Trade Center was destroyed in less than one hour… reminiscent of Babylon in Rev 18:9-12. America did not have revival but instead chose to solve this apart from Him. We entered a recession during this period and the economic advisors of the land decided it best to lower lending rates so as to stimulate the economy. It worked…sort of. We saw a huge influx of housing purchases and the corresponding price increases. America pulled out of the recession…or did we just set ourselves up for a worse problem? We can now say that our current dilemma is partially due to this so-called way out. It is the very same purchasers that cannot pay the adjusted rates and are walking away from their homes. If it is judgment then escape is through humility and repentance…not our own determination. America further thumbed its nose at Almighty God by seeking to legalize things God has already judged. While homosexuality will no sooner condemn a soul than any other sin, the determined effort of some in our land to legalize this under a banner of marriage is only fuel for the anger of a God that showed His disapproval years ago in Sodom & Gomorah.
Where has the voice of God been? Our churches seem intent to grow numerically without respect to salvations. We seem eager to assimilate the unchurched but settle for this rather than for new creations consecrated to God. America has turned from God and we need an awakening. Please pray as i hold meetings in our land to this end.
We will do our best to help our Lord and His cause.

True revival is the urgent need of the hour. Without experiencing true revival and spiritual awakening, the Church today will be without influence and impact in our societies. we really need revival and we need it now…

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