Friday, September 16, 2011

The Commands of Christ - Matthew 7:6

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before the swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces." -Matthew 7:6

What does this command require?

Do not give what is holy to the dogs. Do not cast your pearls before the swine.

What truths do we learn through this command?

It is safe to say that Jesus is giving this command in figurative language. He is not giving instruction on the proper relationship of holy things and precious pearls to dogs and pigs. Rather, Jesus is here giving a command based on the previous few verses regarding proper judgment.

It is generally accepted that 'what is holy' and 'pearls' is referring to doctrines of Scripture, especially the doctrines of the Gospel. In Jewish culture, dogs and pigs were unclean animals. 'Dogs' and 'swine' are taken to mean wicked, violent people who abuse and trample both the message and the messenger of the Gospel. With those things in view, Jesus' command becomes much clearer. Do not give [the doctrines of Scripture, especially the Gospel] to [violent, wicked men who will abuse and trample the Gospel message and messenger].

How can we justify such a choice on our part? How can we refuse to share the Gospel, since the wicked need to hear it the most? I believe that we need to take a step back and take a look at the great commission for a second. Mark 16:15 says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Jesus has commissioned us--commanded us--to preach the Gospel message to every creature. Essentially, each believer must preach the gospel to everyone at least one time. Based on their reaction to our preaching, we will be able to discern if they will 'gladly receive the word' or 'trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.'

I like what the Believer's Bible Commentary says here: "When we meet vicious people who treat divine truths with utter contempt and respond to our preaching of the claims of Christ with abuse and violence, we are not obligated to continue to share the gospel with them. To press the matter only brings increased condemnation to the offenders."

What are the consequences for disobedience?

the Gospel message spurned and trampled underfoot by the wicked; unnecessary abuse to you, the preacher; 

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