Short Thought on Reviving

by Frank Jones


Will You not Yourself revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You (Psa 85:6)

I would commend to your earnest study the treatise by John Owen on The Glory of Christ.[1] Having been influenced by the Scripture and later by Owen, I would offer a working definition of biblical revival. Revival is the awakening of the soul to the infinite weight of "the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:4, 6).

Here are some quotes that would guide our minds towards this definition.

“All our supplies of grace are from Jesus Christ.” (Owen, 458)

“The only way of receiving supplies of spiritual strength and grace from Jesus Christ, on our part, is by faith.” (Owen, 459)

“This faith respects the person of Christ, his grace, his whole mediation, with all the effects of it, and his glory in them all. ... This, therefore, is the issue of the whole: —a steady view of the glory of Christ, in his person, grace, and office, through faith, —or a constant, lively exercise of faith on him, according as he is revealed unto us in the Scripture, —is the only effectual way to obtain a revival from under our spiritual decays, and such supplies of grace as shall make us flourishing and fruitful even in old age.” (Owen, 459).

Proofs: Psalm 34:5; Isaiah 45:22; Micah 7:7; Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 12:2

“This is that which we are called unto, Isa. xlv, 22, ‘Look unto me, and be saved, all ye ends of the earth.’ On this look to Christ, on this view of his glory, depends our whole salvation; and therefore all things that are needful thereunto do so also: this is the way whereby we receive grace and glory. ... Herein all revivals and all flourishings are contained. To have a good measure of conformity unto Christ is all whereof in this life we are capable: the perfection of it is eternal blessedness. ... Let us live in the constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, and virtue will proceed from him to repair all our decays, to renew a right spirit within us, and to cause us to abound in all duties of obedience. (Owen, 460)

“Our recovery or revival will not be effected, nor a fresh spring of grace be obtained, in a careless, slothful course of profession. Constant watching, fighting, contending against sin, with our utmost endeavor for an absolute conquest over it, are required hereunto. And nothing will so much excite and encourage our souls hereunto as a constant view of Christ and his glory; everything in him hath a constraining power hereunto, as is known to all who have any acquaintance with these things.” (Owen, 461) 

[1] Owen, John, and William H. Goold. The Works of John Owen. Vol. 1. 16 vols. London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965.