The title of this blog is “Sparks of Reformation”. But what does that really mean?
The vision that I hope to manifest here is a vision of individual reformation. It is clear that reformation among the people of God on a grand scale only comes when individuals are turning to the Lord God in faith and obedience.
Thus, true reformation is not from the power of men or women, the work of magistrates, the teaching of various churches–no, true Reformation is the direct result of the Holy Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts of those whom he calls. When we pray for reformation in this land, we are not praying for Christians to get in control of this country’s culture; rather, we are praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this sin-scarred people.
I chose to use the term “reformation” rather than “revival” for the title of my blog because “reformation” implies a newness, a complete turning, a greater impetus and change than does “revival”. “Revivals”, as spiritual awakenings have been termed in previous generations, seem to imply a returning, a coming to life again, instead of from the dead. All in all, “revival” does not give as serious implications for the life of a people as does “reformation”. And what is needed in this land is not a returning to a place we have fallen from (especially since most of us wouldn’t recognize it if it hit us in the face)–we need to begin reforming–conforming tenaciously–to the commandments of our Father and God. In this only can we say that we see the beginning of times of refreshing from the Lord.
All previous reformations and revivals that have occurred in the life of the Church, both Old and New Testament times alike, have come through the working of the Holy Spirit in great numbers of individuals. On the part of those individuals, full and entire submission to the Lord who bought them is the hallmark, as the apostle said, “…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ…” (I Peter 1:18-19a).
Even in the midst of times of reformation, there is a dangerous temptation facing second and third generation believers, particularly. We must be careful to remember and to heed the words of our God: “Beware, lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike” (Deuteronomy 29:18b-19). And the judgment of God begins with the house of God.
It is easy–indeed, it is natural–for us to begin attempting to comform tenaciously to the word of God in our own strength, for our own reputation, for our own ends, for our own sake, ultimately–but this is not true reformation. This is pride. True reformation only occurs when our hearts seek to walk in obedience to God for his sake, because he bought us, because we are his. We must we willing to lay aside our own things.
Let us remember that the God who spoke the Ten Words of the Covenant to the people of Israel in the wilderness says the same thing to us today: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). It is for this reason that his authority binds us to obedience–not just to faith. And this is the essence of true reformation engendered by the Holy Spirit of the Living God–obedience joined to faith in submission to the authority of God.