7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,
8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.
2 Corinthians 3:7-9, English Standard Version
The Law of Moses may improve your behaviour for a short time, but sooner or later you will fail and fall back into old sinful habits. This explains why we have so many accounts of revivals in the Old Testament. The people of Israel kept on trying to obey God, but they kept on failing because they didn’t have the Holy Spirit to empower them to live a righteous life before God.
You and I, however, have the privilege of the Holy Spirit living in us to live a life worthy of our high calling in Christ (Ephesians 4:1). Yet, when we fail to appreciate this truth, we will start acting like we need a revival instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to renew our hearts daily with the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Why do we seek a visitation of the Holy Spirit when He has already made us His habitation? (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Bear in mind, the Apostle Paul didn’t tell spiritually messed-up Corinthians that they needed to experience a revival to correct the spiritual abuses and moral failings in their church. Rather he told them to see themselves in the light of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4) through the Spirit’s ministry of righteousness. Research shows most present-day revivals only lasted an average of five years, and are often marked by excessive emotionalism and fleshy extremism. However, it is not to say that lives weren’t impacted for the better, but the positive effects of a revival are always short term. Sooner or later, people are back on their knees, praying for another revival.
What if, instead of wanting a revival experience, we start and carry on living in the resurrection reality that is already ours in Christ? Then we are not trying to get God to do something for our spiritual life—when we are supposed to receive all things freely in Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12).
Any true and genuine ministry of the Holy Spirit will always have the finished work of Jesus in the centre. Bear in mind, revival is an Old Covenant experience that anticipates the new Covenant revelation of our complete fullness in Christ. In other words, the church today does not need a revival because our Lord has already given us through the Holy Spirit everything we need for a dynamic spiritual life and holy living (2 Peter 1:3). What we really need is an awakening of righteousness (1 Corinthians 15:34) and of everything Christ accomplished for us on the cross.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.