Agreeableness Not Synonymous With Regeneration

I have observed that the general and secular culture of the South is noticeably, and often frustratingly, aligned with the “churchy” culture of the Southern states. The secular culture is quite agreeable to the church culture and the church culture seems to be quite content with reflecting that culture and quite indifferent towards molding it. The Gospel is met with much agreement, but little conversion. As with most dichotomies, this is simultaneously advantageous for the church provided the church is appropriately opportunistic, while being an eternal threat both to the accountability of the church’s evangelical identity and to the immortal souls of those deceived by their agreeable nature to the things of Christ when we do not make use of the opportunity so given.

With regards to the Church of the living God, we need to mortify our “churchiness” and become the Church. Contentment in the way of things current will ultimately lead to the condemnation of souls, not the salvation of them. We ought not to be content with the agreeableness of the lost, and we should not rest at ease until their eyes are spiritually opened and they are given the Divine breath of life accompanied by the evidence of spiritual sneezes removing the clog of spiritual and agreeable deception. Being agreeable to the Gospel is not synonymous with being regenerate of God, although we ought to be thankful for what agreeableness exists, for though it serves too deceive a soul, yet the reality of it is often the impression of God upon the same soul, and we ought to, therefore, be encouraged and emboldened to move forward with the Gospel in hopes of true conversion to Christ. We must push forward upon this soul, not settling until the habit of sin and the ritual of agreeableness has been broken, thrown down to the ground in contrition, and lifted back up through a real and genuine faith in Jesus Christ. The Gospel is relevant, the word of the cross is the power of God to those who are being saved, who are called of God, and we must persist and persuade and be in earnest with agreeable souls until God swallows them up, drowns them in the spittle of His holy Law, and revives them by the CPR of the Gospel, imputing to them His holy breath of life through faith in Christ.

We are thankful for those churches who are bringing in the people in groves and we hope that God will make salvific use of whatever is imparted that honors Him, but the fear is that in many of these there may not be much imparted to those souls that truly honors God or converts anyone to Christ – perhaps they are converted to the creation of human atmospheres which masquerade as the presence of God, or perhaps they are converted to a man who speaks with great charisma about the “God within a box”, and that is quite comfortable to both the preacher and the lost soul; it just doesn’t do much to seed and water and convert souls to Christ!

It is the earnestness and passion of the Church that will be the means of true conversion. Our aim is not to make converts to an agreeable nature, a cushy and comfortable nature over against the warnings and threatenings and punishment of just and eternal torments; our aim is to win souls to Christ for the sake of His name among all the nations. This is the exhortation of Spurgeon from the text of 2 Kings 4:29-37, when Elisha came to the Shunamite women’s house and found her son lying dead on the bed, he stretched himself over the child and the child’s flesh became warm – this, I would say, is that good kind of agreeable nature, but it is not enough to satisfy us – for Elisha got up and stretched himself out again over the child and then the child sneezed seven times and opened his eyes – ah, then he was alive, the breath of life causing him to sneeze, and when he has so spiritually sneezed and had eyes opened, then we shall rest in regeneration. Spurgeon writes more ably, “The result of the prophet’s work soon appeared: ‘the flesh of the child waxed warm.’ How pleased Elisha must have been; but I do not find that his pleasure and satisfaction caused him to relax his exertions. Never be satisfied…with finding your children in a barely hopeful state. Did a girl come to you, and cry, ‘Teacher, pray for me’? Be glad, for this is a fair token; but look for more. Did you observe tears in a boy’s eyes when you were speaking of the love of Christ? Be thankful for it that the flesh is waxing warm, but do not stop there. Can you relax your exertions now? Bethink you, you have not yet gained your end! It is life you want, not warmth alone…not mere conviction, but conversion…not only impression, but regeneration, – life, life from God, the life of Jesus…nothing less must content you.” (from “The Soul Winner”; pages 157-158.)

The Church must be just that; the Christian must be just that; and when they are, Christ will be just that in the conversion of the lost soul. If our petitions with the Gospel are met with agreeableness, do not be fooled into thinking them saved, lest with that agreeableness comes the agreeable fruit of faith. If you observe them and their life stands in stark opposition to their agreeable nature, then thank God that at least their flesh is perhaps “waxed warm”, but do not cease in our holy endeavor and end of seeing the soul saved, brought to God through faith in Christ. Watch them “sneeze”, and “open their eyes”, then we shall recognize new life. Again, agreeableness is not synonymous with regeneration, with being born of God. Work up a sweat in earnestness, plead with the lost soul until they see through their agreeableness into the deadness of the testimony of their lives, and when they presume themselves dead, then with more zeal, stretch out over them the Gospel of Christ.

And this is not the south only, but a great percentage of America is agreeable to the notion of Christianity and of “believing in God”, and that is well and good, and ought to be a thing very hopeful for us so long as we then walk through the open door of that statistic with the Gospel of Christ in heart and hand to see them converted. But until the end is met by the grace of God the cultural agreeableness to the belief in a God is insufficient, for even the demons “believe in God” and they shutter, but it avails nothing to believe what demons and the devil, himself, believes, when God believes in God rightly, if one does not believe rightly in Christ exclusively through whom God is truly revealed and known. Again, agreeableness is not synonymous with regeneration, but it is hopeful for those who aim to see the lost soul saved and reunited to God.

In conclusion, an agreeable nature to the things of God can be both damning and the advantageous hope of conversion, the finger print of God on a life, the great chasm between the two possibilities being bridged only by the zeal of Christians to share the full Gospel of Christ with an earnestness that transcends agreement and confronts the culturally deceived with sin, righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment (Acts 24:25). Only then, like Felix, will the agreeable become “alarmed.” We must seek to alarm the agreeable, to sound off in the soul, that culture, heritage, positive thinking, self-improvement projects, regular church attendance, or singing in the choir, and the like, does not save anybody. And only when they become alarmed, having their agreeableness set against spiritual deadness, are they set to be comforted with Christ. We do not seek an agreeableness in the lost soul, dear Christians, we seek the life of God imputed, we seek conversion, we seek true righteousness. May this be our passion and earnest plea to God in Jesus’ name.

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