There are two things to which every Christian must agree. These are the Total Depravity of Man and the Perseverance of the Saints. A truly rejuvenated, born of the Spirit and saved individual immediately knows the depravity from which she or he was rescued. This is the point where we literally came to a knowledge of the sinful condition of our hearts, bodies, minds and soul and either choose to continue - or surrender our entire being to the One Who Created and saved us, by His Grace.
In his psalm of Repentance, King David "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being..." (psalm 51:5-6a). The great man of God, who broke God's commandment of not just adultery, but of coveting, lying, murder, idolatry etc...was describing the depraved and corrupt state of the human condition, brought forth by original sin. We do not have to go into detail about the perversion of modern man. It was already written of in Genesis 6 when God wiped out mankind and started over with Noah. The modern state of corrupt humanity is to be acknowledged, pitied and then prayed about.
When we have come to the knowledge of our transgression against God by breaking all of His laws and statutes, as David did when he killed one of his best friends to steal his wife, we are on the road to restoration. Or maybe not! Many choose to follow that road to their destruction - again as we see in the modern American and European society where God is mocked. Unfortunately, most will choose the road to perdition. But not so, those who seek a city, where the builder and architect is God.
These are undisputed facts. Mankind has been totally depraved since the Fall in the Garden and anyone who questions that just has to look at American culture, TV and society. This alone should lead us to repentance. Even if Repentance as the key cornerstone of Sanctification is not taught in your church or mine. Those who walk by the Spirit instinctively know when things are not well with the soul. Repentance is not a change of mind, contrary to what prosperity gospel preachers like Joseph Prince say. If repentance was a change of mind, you can easily change your mind back to sinning ways, unless your mind has been stayed upon Jehovah.
Repentance is a COMPLETE CHANGE OF DIRECTION. Psalm 51 is the Biblical model of Repentance (click here). When we have gotten so far away from the commands and statutes of God that we are "outside the camp", that we are faced with two options - either keep going over the cliff, or turn around. This is where we are at in terms of seeking Revival. This type of Revival is personal. Before a Spiritual Awakening could take hold and catch fire as it did with George Whitefield, or Duncan Campbell or The Jesus Movement, it must begin with you and me. It must bring us to our knees as we grasp the awesomeness and sheer power and scope of first the Majesty of God and then His Wrath.
It is vogue in the West to ignore the part of the Bible which talk about the Wrath and Judgment of God. People ignore this attribute of God at their own personal peril. We must be on our faces, even, crying out for mercy like the hundreds in Enfield, Connecticut in July 1741 when the great Jonathan Edwards preached the most famous sermon ever in America - Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God! People were literally on the floor in tears with their fears, as Edwards read monotone from the amazing prepared text he brought! What was it that brought such conviction and the need to repent and make things right with God? It was the Word of God and the very fact that Jonathan Edwards pierced their hard hearts. All he had to do was remind that it is only the Grace of God which kept them from being sent to hell, this very minute. They believed him to their eternal credit. Today, no one believes us. But we never give up. We lived repentant daily lifestyles of light, liberty and leaning on the very same Word of God which drove us to our knees and then gave us the victory.
Many are praying for America to be in a Third Great Awakening or for some sort of region, city or state where "Lord bring Your fire" sort of Revival. This will never happen unless the saints of God are fully repentant, in one accord before the Throne seeking personal and THEN corporate forgiveness as a church. It is only at such a time, when this has been accomplished that we can corporately pray for the Lord to move on a nation, with expectation. Anything else is praying into a horizontal cross-breeze, not up to the Throne.
With these matters settled before the Lord, it is only then we can even begin to speak about the bookends to the Total Depravity of man - and that is - Perseverance of the Saints. This is too important to just briefly describe in a blog posting. What is most critical to know about Perseverance as a child and follower of God through Christ is that only Jesus can give us the ability to persevere. A life of daily repentance or walking in the Spirit and the Light of Christ make persevering through these evil days all the more bearable and even edifying towards maturity, if we see things through His Eyes. We can only have those Eyes if we, who are called by His Name, understand from whence we came, the Price paid for us and what is expected of us. Anything less than earnest repentance will not bring us where we need to be, if we are seeking personal and corporate Revival.
(Photo courtesy National Day of Prayer Australia)