I was reading a small book by Jonathan Edwards in which he is trying to help other Christians of his day understand the Great Awakening and the revival that was taking place around him. As he described the shouts, cries for mercy, and general disorderly conduct, it sounded like no service I had ever been to.
I couldn’t imagine how disruptive it must be to have people shouting in the middle of the service, crying out for mercy and carrying on with hearts full of conviction. Isn’t it written somewhere that God is a God of order, not of chaos? Then I read these words:
Would to God that all public assemblies in the land were broken off from their public exercises with such confusion as this the next sabbath day!
And it hit me…I preach the gospel, but I don’t believe in true conviction. True conviction happens when the Holy Spirit shows a person the utter depths of their sin. True conviction happens when a person so abhors their sin that they cannot but cry out for mercy. True conviction sees a glimpse of the full wrath of God and cries out in terror.
Conversion has become so hip today. We envision it taking place over coffee or in a quiet home group. Our version of conviction is so stoic and academic that we forget what it means to believe in “total depravity of man” and the “terrifying wrath of God.”
I am far from an ecstatic, but I had to at that moment join in prayer with Dr. Edwards that this Sunday and the Sundays afterward, such conviction would fall that I would never again make it through a sermon without disruption!
Hallelujah, Thine the glory! Revive us again!