I’ve just about decided that today’s church doesn’t need revival nearly so much as we need revelation. Revival is “an improvement in the condition or strength of something; a reawakening.” It’s a time-honored tradition in the church that calls up images of fresh faith, stirred emotions, and awakened zeal. David, Nehemiah and Habakkuk spoke of revival under the Old Covenant, and down through the years the church has experienced dramatic periods of revival. But the term is absent altogether in the New Testament. Luke, Peter, John and Paul speak instead of revelation: “a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way.”
What the church lacks today is revelation of the fullness of the Gospel. A people who only half-embrace grace, disregard adoption, miss the fullness of Christ, and skip past the Kingdom can never be anything more than legalistic, insecure, powerless, and adrift. Though I cringe at the harshness of that statement, I fear more that we have left the treasures of the Gospel unwrapped and have unwittingly forsaken our heritage. If we knew who we were and the fullness of who Christ is we would no sooner lose our momentum than a prairie fire in a windstorm.
Perhaps instead of praying for revival we ought to pray with Paul “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give [us] a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened, that [we] might know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:16-20)