Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”
What's the difference between a revival and reformation in a church that is Old Covenant in nature and one that is New Covenant? 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?
Old Covenant reformation is decidedly temporary. Take the case of King Josiah: 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 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 Mount 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 to Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (as Abraham was, under the New Covenant; see Gal. 3:16-25).
Numerous Old Covenant revivals and reformations have come and gone in the world church for the past 150 plus years; King Josiah all over again. They have often been inspired by and imported from the popular ecumenical movements, the Keswick Movement in the 19th century, and now, revivalism.
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.
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.
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