This is the second of two articles that will discuss revival and spiritual awakening. In last week’s article distinctions were made between revival and spiritual awakening. Additionally, we discussed the need for revival in the church. In this article we will discuss Spiritual Awakening, and the Plan of Salvation.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)–“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
John 6:44 (NKJV)–“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Written by Milton J. and Pamela K. Orgeron
What is a Spiritual Awakening? According to yourdictionary.com, a spiritual awakening is defined as “A realization or inspiration about the connection with an entity or entities beyond the immediate and physical world, of “God” or other intangible, sacred spirit.”
A spiritual awakening can be gradual or rapid, and it can mean different things to different people … Many secular references to spiritual awakening are in the context of mysticism and New Age thinking and should be approached with extreme caution. What the world calls a “spiritual awakening” could be nothing more than an open door to contact demonic spirits. (Got Questions Ministries, 2018c, Answer section, ¶ 1)
Spiritual Awakening – The Christian Perspective
John 3:3-8 (NKJV) –
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Ephesians 1:8-9 (NKJV) –
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
The Steps to Salvation
One’s journey from the state of being lost to being born again differs with each individual (Philippians 2:12-13). Through the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit one can be saved at any age. However, we believe the younger a person accepts Christ the better: Proverbs 8:17 (KJV) – “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
In our personal journey of studying Scriptures and observing other Christians, we note the following crucial common elements, or steps in the Plan of Salvation:
- The Calling & Conviction through the Holy Spirit – “When the Philippian jailer fell at the apostles’ feet and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” he was under conviction (Acts 16:30). He was certain that, without a Savior, he would die.” (Got Questions Ministries, 2018a, Answer Section, ¶ 9)
- Repentance – Acts 2:38 (NKJV) “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” What is repentance? “In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, ‘I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.’ The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.” (Got Questions Ministries, 2018b, Answer section, ¶ 1)In other words, we are agreeing with God that we are sinners in need of the Savior Jesus Christ. This is reflected by our turning from a sinful lifestyle to a new life in Christ.
- Regeneration (The New Birth) – this is synonymous with being born again that John writes about in the Book of John, Chapter 3. This contrasts from our physical birth where we inherited the sin nature. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a spiritual experience that results in forgiveness of sin (Ephesians 1:7), an abundant life (John 10:10) and life eternally in Heaven (John 3:5).
I’m Saved … Then What?
The first point we want to make is that being baptized (immersed in water) does not save a person. The one true indicator of salvation is that the Holy Spirit lives in one’s heart. For example, consider the thief who died on the cross next to Jesus: Luke 23:42-43 (NKJV) – 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom.”43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
The thief was never baptized but Jesus assured him that due to his repentant heart he would be in Heaven that day. From stories told to me by my paternal grandmother, her husband, my paternal grandfather, did not get saved until his senior years. At the time of his conversion he was too sick to be baptized; yet, my grandmother had the assurance that she would see him again in Heaven. No doubt others have stories of “death-bed” or near death conversions. Although, that is no reason for an individual to quench the Holy Spirit and put off his or her decision for Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 tells us, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
Since baptism is not necessary for salvation, why be baptized? Baptism is an outward expression or testimony of the inward change that has occurred in a new Christian’s heart. Based on the example in Acts 8:26-40 where Philip baptized the Ethiopian, new converts should desire to be baptized as soon as possible after being saved.
The Spiritual Disciplines
“What are spiritual disciplines? They are practices taken from Scripture to help Christians mature in Christ. How many are there? The number varies, depending on the author.” (Orgeron, 2017, p. 104) We will highlight those disciplines discussed in the books entitled Food as an Idol: Finding Freedom from Disordered Eating (ABC’s Ministries, 2017) and We Survived Sexual Abuse! You Can Too! (ABC’s Ministries, 2016), both authored by Pam. These disciplines include:
- prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- fasting (Matthew 6:18)
- Scripture reading (2 Timothy 2:15) – “Reading the Scriptures directs the mind and heart to issues of greatest concern to God. The Word of God searches our motives,” (Orgeron, 2017, p. 105)
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
- memorizing and meditating on Scriptures –Through memorizing Scriptures an individual adds verses to his or her memory bank that the Holy Spirit can bring to recall in times of need later. Prayer with meditation on the Scriptures gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to reveal personal application for specific verses to individual Christians. (Orgeron, 2017, p. 105)
- church attendance (Hebrews 10:25)
- corporate Bible study (Acts 17:11)
- corporate prayer (Acts 1:14; Acts 4:29-31)
- family devotions and Bible study with children involved (Deuteronomy 11:19)
- observing the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11)
- praise and worship (Psalm 146:1-2; Psalm 149:1-4)
- service to others – exemplified by Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 13:1-17)
- submission to God’s will (1 John 2:17; James 4:7)
The Fruit of the Spirit
Born-again Christians have a changed life led by the Spirit, which is a different nature from the old carnal nature, the flesh, that they were physically born with. The two natures are in conflict with each other (Galatians 5:17). The natural out flow of the new nature led by the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit. “[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Have you been born again? Are you growing in Christ? If not, we encourage you to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Do you have thoughts that tell you to clean up your life? to start attending church? If so, that is the Holy Spirit’s calling you. Why not let today be your day of Salvation?
2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV):
For He says:
“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Got Questions Ministries, 2018a. What is the conviction of sin? Retrieved January 24, 2018 from https://www.gotquestions.org/conviction-of-sin.html
Got Questions Ministries, 2018b. What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation? Retrieved January 24, 2018 from https://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html
Got Questions Ministries, 2018c. What is a spiritual awakening? Retrieved January 15, 2018 from https://www.gotquestions.org/spiritual-awakening.html
Orgeron, P. (2016). We Survived Sexual Abuse! You Can Too!. Nashville: ABC’s Ministries. Available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/Survived-Sexual-Abuse-You-Can-ebook/dp/B01LFX1Z9A/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Orgeron, P. (2017). Food as an Idol: Finding Freedom from Disordered Eating. Nashville: ABC’s Ministries. Available for purchase at https ://www.amazon.com/Food-Idol-Finding-Freedom-Disordered/dp/0997956534/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8