Essential Principle of Revival: Matthew 5:23-24
“23) If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24) leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” Matthew‬ ‭5:23-24‬
Jesus now lays out the principle that if your relationship with people is not right, then your relationship with God is hindered. Another slant might be that the way you treat people affects your relationship with God.
He then used an illustration of presenting gifts at the altar and there you remember that you have offended your brother. The appropriate thing to do is step out of line and go first and be reconciled to your brother before presenting your offering.
Later, in 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, Paul seems to apply this same principle to communion. Broken relationships with others can result in partaking of the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner.” We are never worthy of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, but we can have a double standard.
Jesus illustrated this by a lack of forgiveness in Matthew 18:21-35. He told the story of the slave who was forgiven much by his master but then refused to forgive his fellow slave a very small debt even though he was earnestly entreated. The end result was tragic and merciless for the wicked slave.
We are guilty of the same hypocrisy when we fail to forgive others. It goes beyond tasteless salt and hidden light. It places us in a place of trampling God’s goodness and grace toward us underfoot. It is a violation of Agape love. It hinders our relationship with God.
1 John 4: 20-21 says it very candidly; “20) If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21) And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
There is no wiggle room with this principle. Your relationship with God should directly impact your relationship with people. The opposite is also true, your relationship with people affects your relationship with God.
One the primary principles of revival is taken from Matthew 5:23-24. Erwin Lutzer after studying the revival that swept across western Canada in the late 1970’s, concluded that “Revival requires the healing of all seared relationships.” I have not found an exception to this principle in my study of biblical revivals.
Dealing with the anger and bitterness that results in broken relationships always takes center stage in deep sweeping revivals. Genuine revival always restores broken relationships. This wave often pushes the momentum of revival to greater levels. Forgiving others pulls down huge strongholds and sets people free.
It is hard to describe the freedom, celebration and worship that happens when a person comes back to the altar with a clean heart and a clear conscience. In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus was giving far more than good advice. He was prescribing the pathway into the presence and glory of God.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global