Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How We Need a Visitation From God

In the last post I mentioned that I think supernatural touches from God can increase sanctification, which I know is likely to be a controversial idea.  I had quoted Brian Edwards saying that revival is an increase in the spiritual life of believers, and I jumped from that to sanctification, which I think can be defended.  He went on to say that a desire for holiness is increased, and strength in evangelism is increased.  I'd add that conviction of sin is greatly increased, in fact revivals often start with people being deeply convicted of sin, some saved and drawn to confession and repentance, some needing to be saved, which becomes a struggle they endure until the Lord gives them the grace for salvation. 

Spiritual truths are learned and put into effect through these experiences of God, which means that people are permanently changed.  Normal sanctification is a process of growth by learning the same truths and acting on them in normal time over your lifespan.  What happens when God comes in power as in a revival is that the learning is intense and dramatic, which seems to me can be called speeded-up sanctification.  Believers are conformed more to the character of Christ and unbelievers are saved.

The Holiness Movement has claimed that the experience of "baptism in the Holy Spirit" brings about complete holiness or complete sanctification.  I've never understood how that is possible, but I don't think it's the same thing as happens in revivals.  I don't doubt that they are talking about genuine experiences of the power of God in what they call the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I just can't see how total sanctification is possible all at once. So either they are misinterpreting their experience or they are not doing the best job of getting it across.

As I suggested in the previous post, personal experiences of the presence of God may come to those who are seeking God with particular intensity.  As Hebrews 11:6 says, He who would come to God "...must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."  This intense diligent seeking through prayer and discipline and obedience is what characterizes those who get called "mystics" -- but their mysticism is Biblical, unlike the mysticism of the Emerging Church's mindless mechanical repetitious prayer they oddly call "contemplative."  Or the "mysticism" of the unchristian "worship services" of the Word-Faith and Charismatic churches, with their repetitive music and strange manifestations. 

So we need revival.  Christians need revival to correct us and promote spiritual growth, and the world needs revival, REAL revival, to slow the downward slide to Perdition and allow some to get saved. And we need REAL "mysticism" which is God's gracious presence where He is rightly worshipped, whether in the assembly or in the private prayer closet.