Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Rayola Kelley

       Q: I have been hearing how God is doing a new thing in a “so-called” revival happening in Florida, but there is great debate going on as to whether it is from God. Could you explain what it means for God to do a new thing?

        A: In Jeannette’s article for this month she deals with the subject of this revival, and also makes reference to God doing a new thing. However, I will be glad to elaborate on this subject for your edification. There have been a lot of movements roll through Christendom that have been purported as “God doing a new thing” as mentioned inIsaiah 43:19. As you study all these different claims, you would have to conclude that God has been doing a “new thing” at least every five to ten years.

       It is important to point out that God promised to do a new thing in the singular text, not in the plural. It was also clearly written to the people of Israel. “New” implies that God would do a fresh work that the people of Israel would not necessarily be familiar with. Sadly, many in Christendom have applied this term to every new movement that has gained popularity in the religious world. When you consider these “new things” that have dotted the religious terrain, many of them have conflicting results that appear to be faddish and temporary, often bringing division among Christians. However, the one thing they have managed to do is to condition people to accept, as well as pursue, the next “new thing” that hits the scene.

       There is a simple test in which to properly discern these movements.  Do they line up to and uphold the character, ways, work, and Word of God? God will never move outside of His holy character, His ways of righteousness, His main work of establishing man in His everlasting kingdom, and the complete counsel of His Word. The problem is that many do not know God, and as a result they do not understand His ways, recognize His work, and know how to rightly divide His Word.

       Since people do not know God or understand His ways, they fail to discern the work He is doing, and often accredit Him with work that is contrary to every aspect of who He is. God’s work always builds on what has already been clearly established in Scripture. He works according to covenants that are legally binding, not movements that prove to be nothing more than a “flash in the pan.”

       When God made reference to doing a “new thing”, it was in reference to establishing a new covenant. He stated that He would put a new heart, and His Spirit in people, enabling them to obey Him (Ezekiel 36:26-27).Hebrews 10:16-18 makes reference to this by quoting some of Jeremiah 31:31-34: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and their minds will I write them, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

       The new covenant that was established through the offering of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, on the cross actually fulfilled the intention and requirement of the old covenant of the Law (Matthew 5:17-18; Romans 10:40. After all, the Law addressed the depravity and end of all flesh, for it revealed the rebellion of man against God, as well as pronounced the judgment of death upon all in order to point man to God’s ultimate solution. The new covenant represents a more excellent way in that man’s sins could be taken away so he could be forgiven, saved, and restored back into a relationship with His Creator. The new covenant brings people under the influence of the Spirit of God as He enables them to realize the very life of Christ in their inner man. As the New Testament Church, we have been established according to this new covenant.

       Since Christ is the fulfillment of the old covenant, and the essence of the new covenant, there is nothing more that can be added to it. As Jesus stated on the cross concerning His mission and work on earth, “It is finished!” Therefore, the concept of God doing a new thing these days is not in line with His immutable character, His way of drawing man to Himself through the preaching of the Gospel, His work of salvation on behalf of man, and according to the full counsel of His Word.

       As I have observed these “new things” or moves in Christendom, they clearly differ from what has been established by Scripture. For example, revival, not repentance is the main theme of many of these moves. Jesus’ preaching was for repentance. Their emphasis is not Christ crucified, but signs and wonders. Jesus stated of those who sought signs and wonders during His time that they were an evil generation, and that the false Christ’s and prophets in the end days would use signs and wonders to deceive many. Although the Holy Spirit is accredited with much of the activities that are occurring in these “new things”, He is quite absent from all of it. The real work of the Spirit is to bring a powerful conviction of sin by exalting the real example of righteousness found in Christ. This allows Him to reveal the judgment that is already upon those who have not come to the truth of Jesus Christ’s redemption.

       My advice to people is to flee from anyone claiming that God is doing a “new thing.” It is no doubt a counterfeit or poor substitute for the work that He has already completed. It is clear that the last new thing He did on behalf of His people was 20 centuries ago. It was clearly outlined in Scripture so man can recognize and embrace it with simple faith, and truly be saved from the harsh dictates of sin, and the sentence of death upon his soul.