Monday, April 29, 2013

Defibrillating the Healthy?

I was singing a song the other day at Church that was talking about how as a Christian that we are asking God to revive us again. I got to thinking is this a Biblical desire for Christians to sing about? Just stop and consider what revive means. It means to bring back to life or to make alive again. But isn't this what happens at regeneration? When God through Jesus's work on the cross by the Holy Spirit takes a dead man and makes him a new creation by giving him a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone, doesn't that sound like revival of a human? Wouldn't this be like attaching a defibrillator to someone with a healthy sinus heart rhythm?

I know the Old Testament talks about people being revived again. Psalm 85 is titled "Revive Us Again" and talks about restoring the relationship God has with man to allow the people of God to rejoice after a time of rebellion or spiritual non-activity (or deadness).  Same with Lamentations 1 and Isaiah 57. Other than that, Nehemiah 4 quotes Sanballat and Tobiah mocking Nehemiah about "reviving" the walls of Jerusalem.

Hosea 6 is the most interesting because it seems to foreshadow Jesus. It says:

6:1 “Come, let us return to the Lord;
    for he has torn us, that he may heal us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up
    that we may live before him.
3 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth.”
4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
    What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that goes early away.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
    I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
    and my judgment goes forth as the light.
6 For I desire steadfast love[a] and not sacrifice,
    the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
7 But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
    there they dealt faithlessly with me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    tracked with blood.
9 As robbers lie in wait for a man,
    so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
    they commit villainy.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
    Ephraim's whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,
    when I restore the fortunes of my people.
(Hosea 6:1-11 ESV emphasis added)
Jesus quotes from this chapter but notice verse 2. That sounds an awful like the resurrection.It sounds like revival has happened already. It sounds like resurrection, the act of receiving new life after death, is the revival of which the Old Testament speaks. In Christ, we have a revival already so do we really have to ask for it to happen again? Does it matter that we don't feel it?

It is no wonder that the New Testament does not say "please revive us again." They talk about being made alive (1 Cor 15:22, Eph 2:5, Col 2:8, 1 Peter 3:18). Often it is a past tense manor like this has happened. Paul mentions a revival of the Philippians' concern for him but nothing about asking for revival in the church like we often discuss it. Nothing about a renewed vigor or feeling of life because it is implied that it has already happened.

What we need more is the reality that we have been given new life in Jesus. Trust in our baptism, the Lord's supper and the preaching word as means of grace, showing us what is real and what is living. Allow the gospel to be preached to us and instead of trying to recapture something, why don't we enjoy what we already have received? Why do we feel need to ask God for something that he has already given to us and ways to actually know that this as happened?