This week I met Sharp, a young university senior. During the course of conversation, the word “revival” came up.
That word means rebirth, return, restoration, renaissance, rejuvenation, revitalization and resurrection. The “re” prefix meaning back, anew or over again.
It means more than the shallow “hope and change”, it is more closely connected with “repent and change.” Our nation may be in a last-breath gasping for survival, at the lowest ebb in its history. Our biggest problem is morality, not politics.
Our focus is on our children and grandchildren and the mess we have created for them. Egotistical, self-centered, uninformed, dull-minded leaders who are blinded by their own desires will lead us all into disastrous ditches from which extraction may be impossible.
The revival we need may not be lead by any one individual or even a small well-defined group. In February 1970, there was a spiritual revival that began on the campus of Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, with no apparent leader. It was like a wind blowing wherever it chose. Confession of sin was made, forgiveness was asked, repentance for sin was genuine and lives were dramatically changed.
It quickly spread to Anderson (College) University in Indiana and other college and university campuses, to individuals, then to churches across the country and especially in the Midwest. Normal activities were often put on hold, classes suspended as revival broke out in full force and superseded whatever else was going on.
The critics offered their one silly objection, “It won’t last.” Billy Sunday, the great baseball player of Chicago, who became world famous as an evangelist had an answer for such stupidity, “Neither does a bath.” Perhaps we can all agree that after days, weeks, months and years without a bath one may do some good – washing away the filth, stench, disease and disgrace.
It is possible to live so long in filth and debauchery to believe it is the normal way to live. The abnormal can be embraced so long that it appears to be normal.
In the first century, A.D., Paul of Tarsus, whose writing towers above all columnists, editors, authors and social commentators of our day, described the vile immorality of his day.
Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Corinthians 6: 9-10).
No matter what our sin and sinful living has been, there is cleansing and forgiveness, conversion and change, through Jesus Christ. This once proud and wealthy city was destroyed in 146 B.C.
Fornicators and idolaters were prominent in this fallen city. Many scholars label homosexuality as the most unnatural sin. In his scholarly writing, William Barclay, Greek interpreter, historian and extraordinary writer says, “This sin had swept like a cancer through Greek life and from Greece invaded Rome. We can scarcely realize how riddled the ancient world was with it.”
Barclay further states, “Men in the highest and lowest places in life would take another man home to be his wife.” He said, “Nero had himself married a man … and called him his husband.”
Is there hope for those trapped by sin? Barclay said, “No man can change himself, but Christ can change him.” Sinners are to be loved, be they fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, idolaters, thieves, homosexuals or any other sinner. The grace and power of God offers a complete transformation and to the extent of being born again and becoming a new person in Christ.
What happens will depend on our citizens and especially the church. It may be now or never.