Is there a difference in revival and reformation?
Where they feel similar, the work of revival is what God brings and the work of reformation is what God empowers men to do.
500 years ago Martin Luther ignited a movement that we now call the great reformation, but he was not the first, only or even (hopefully not) the last reformer. As I’m preaching through the books of the Kings the historian lays out seasons of both revival and reformation in the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
- Revival means there is an awakening of people to their spiritual concerns, a return or recovery of a state of neglect. Restoration of life.
- To reform means to change from worse to better; to amend; to correct; to restore to a former good state. To remove what is bad or corrupt. To abandon that which is evil or corrupt, and return to a good state. To be corrected
One can see there is similarity and even could be misinterpreted for each other. Maybe even fair to do so. But reform is more the activity done by those who have been revived.
Anyone with settled habits or vice will seldom reform. When there are many who don’t want to reform the reformers will be faced with great opposition. If a reformer is not aware of this he may likely give up too early on the reforming work while waiting for the profound work of the Holy Spirit in reviving those who have settled into their habits and vice.
Reforming work is very slow work. Many times the reformers are silenced, removed, ridiculed, mocked, slandered, hunted, etc. It is a blessed sight to see the Holy Spirit move in the hearts of men and women today in many places who are aiming at the same reforming work in the Lord’s church. There is a revival of sorts of expository, biblical preaching in our day. It will require more revived preachers to sustain the reforming work.
Church, we must call out from among our churches more reformers. Reformers equipped and informed of the hardship that is before them.
LORD’s Day Sermon, September 18, 2016