Posted by: rcottrill | March 7, 2011

Revive Us Again

Words: William Paton MacKay (b. May 13, 1839; d. Aug. 22, 1885)
Music: John Jenkins Husband (b. ___, 1760; d. Mar. 19, 1825)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: The amazing story of medical doctor turned pastor, William MacKay (pronounced Mac-EYE in Scotland), is told in the Wordwise Hymns link. The way the Lord kept his hand on this man through some wayward years is astonishing. It also illustrates the powerful effect of a mother’s love and prayers.

This hymn takes its inspiration from Habakkuk 3:2, “O Lord, revive your work in the midst of the years.” There is a difference between salvation and revival. The unsaved can’t be “re-vived,” as there was no spiritual life there to begin with. Salvation involves the granting of eternal life to those who had been “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). It is by that saving work that we become the people of God. Revival is distinct from that. It is the re-energizing of life that is already there. It involves a renewal of vitality and spiritual power in a backslidden child of God (cf. Ps. 85:6).

Dr. MacKay fully appreciated the wonderful saving work of God. But he also realized that we don’t always live like the Christians we became through faith in Christ. Sometimes, in our daily walk, we can drift away, become wayward and worldly, and in need of the refreshing, reviving work of the Spirit. Our souls need to be “rekindled with fire from above” (CH-5). If we are sinning believers, we are called to repent and confess our sins (I Jn. 1:9). Only then will we experience the peace and joy of our salvation, and bear spiritual fruit as God intends us to.

Revive Us Again is one of a number of Trinitarian hymns. (Praise Ye the Triune God! is another.) The first stanza is addressed to God the Father, the second has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit, and the third praises Christ, God’s Lamb.

¤ It is the Father who, in grace, gave His Son to die for our sins (Jn. 3:16; I Cor. 15:3). And the Lord Jesus is “now gone above” (CH-1), where He sits at the right hand of God the Father as our great High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 1:3; 4:14-16; 10:12; I Jn. 2:1-2; 4:14).

¤ It is the Spirit of God who revealed Christ to Christians’ sin-darkened hearts, “and scattered our night” (CH-2). The Lord Jesus promised, “He [the Holy Spirit] will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 16:13-14; cf. Jn. 14:26; II Cor. 3:18).

¤ And Christ the heavenly Lamb bore the penalty for our sins on the cross (CH-3, cf. Jn. 1:29; I Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24). He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).

Most hymnals omit stanza CH-4. It speaks of “the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus” (I Pet. 5:10). It is by the wonderful grace of God–His unearned and unmerited favour–that we are raised from our lost condition to the position of sonship. We are saved through “the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). Christ “bought” us through His death on the cross, and the Lord sought us out and made us His own (I Cor. 6:19-20; cf. Acts 20:28). Stanza CH-4 says:

All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast bought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

1) What will be some of the evidence that an individual believer, or a local church, needs reviving?

2) What will be some of the evidence of a vital, Spirit-energized life–either of an individual, or of a local church?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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