Thursday, April 12, 2012

Revival and Reformation (part 2)

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
What's the difference between a revival and reformation in the church that is Old Covenant in nature and one that is New Covenant? We noted yesterday that the great reformation under King Josiah in 2 Chronicles was Old Covenant; why?

Should we not be able to tell the difference today? Suppose the world church today experiences a grand revival and reformation that is Old Covenant, would that hasten the coming of Jesus, or further delay Him?

What are the differences?

(a) Old Covenant reformation is decidedly temporary. In the case of Josiah's, the moment he was dead, his sons began leading the people back to rebellion against the Lord and the people willingly, mindlessly followed like sheep going astray. No root, no foundation. From then on it was disaster all the way down to total national ruin. They had learned no long-lasting gospel truth under King Josiah. That wasn't the poor man's fault: he had simply inherited the Old Covenant yoke, which the nation of Israel had fastened upon themselves at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 19:8; Heb. 9:1). The apostle Paul was probably the first Israelite to discern clearly the significance of their Old Covenant history when he said, "The law was our schoolmaster [slave driver?] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (as Abraham was, under the New Covenant; see Gal. 3:16-25).

(b) Numerous Old Covenant revivals and reformations have come and gone in the world church for the past 150 years; King Josiah all over again.

(c) They have often been inspired by and imported from the popular ecumenical movements, the Keswick Movement in the 19th century and now, the popular revivalism.

(d) Old Covenant revival and reformation is motivated by a desire to receive God's blessings; New Covenant revival and reformation is motivated by heart-thankfulness and appreciation for God's blessings already realized and received.

(e) Old Covenant revival is therefore egocentric in nature; and whatever is egocentric in motivation has to be legalistic in its origin. In contrast, New Covenant revival and reformation is based on an experience of identity with Christ that transcends fear of being lost or hope of reward (1 John 4:16-18).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 12, 1999.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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