Calvin said, “We are saved through faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” God is in it! Surely that is what Paul tells us in that great passage. “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ, He liveth in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the”–faith of Paul? Oh, no! That wouldn’t get him very far. “I live by the faith of the Son of God!” The faith of God.
Harvests of Infidels or Believers? Now I’m convinced of this, that if this truth was stressed, there would be less appeals. If this truth was stressed, our crusades and campaigns would not be producing harvests of infidels.
If men and women would but recognize that glorious truth–“They shall seek me and shall find me when they shall search for me with all their heart.” That means that they may not find Him tonight. They may not find Him tomorrow night. They may not find Him next week. They may not find Him for a month or for six months, but if they are seeking God with all their hearts, they’re going to find Him, or God is not true to His covenant engagement.
Oh, let’s get this clear. It comes into revival. That is why I could count upon my five fingers all that I spoke to about their souls during the whole of the three years I was in the midst of it (1949-53). You see, in the Northwest of Scotland, if you were to press yourself and your advice and your help upon an anxious soul, he would be inclined to believe that it was man’s work…just man’s work. And he would much rather be left to God so that God Himself would handle him. That is why we have known people for weeks and longer in distress of soul before light broke in upon them.
THE ORIGIN OF REVIVAL Now, let me touch first of all on the origin of revival. You have it in this verse. “Wilt Thou not revive us again.” My dear people, we do well to remember that in the whole field of Christian experience, the first step is, and remains, with God. We want to remember that. Thought, feeling, endeavour must find their basis, must find their inspiration in the sovereign mercy of God. Now I believe that. I believe it with all my heart.
My dear people, let me say again, in the field of revival, God is sovereign! But, I hasten to say, that I do not believe in any conception of sovereignty that nullifies man’s responsibility. God is the God of revival, but we are the human agents through which revival is possible. And God found that man in the postman of Berneray.
I believe this to be the reason for so few making contact with Christ that is vital: to me, one of the most disturbing factors of present-day evangelism, is the overemphasis on what man can do. “Come to the front. Raise your hand. Respond to the altar call. Come to Jesus and be happy!” God have mercy on us! I say, God have mercy on us! Man, in the final analysis, can do nothing but throw himself on the sovereign mercy of God! Oh, let’s get that clear. That is not Highland Theology. It’s New Testament Theology! It’s Old Testament Theology! I’m tired, positively tired of this gospel of simple believism!
No Backsliders I never spoke to one single person in that village in an endeavour to help them find the Saviour! We just left them to God and God did it! That is why you haven’t a single backslider in that whole community. Oh, my dear people, when God does a work, He does it well! You can go back, and you can go back again, and you’ll find them pressing on with the God that revealed, not only Himself to them, but revealed Himself in them.