by Moody Adams Few Bible passages are ignored as much as this one, which commands that we do not continue to offer the gospel to certain people.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).
God commands us to proclaim the gospel to every person. He commands us to not proclaim the gospel again to reprobates who have heard and rejected it over and over.
When our Lord sent out the apostles, He said, "And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them" (Mark 6:11).
Jesus is the ‘pearl of great price’ that should not be wasted on dogs and swine: "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:45-46). There are sinners around us that have sunk to such a nasty state of rejection that God looks upon them as “dogs.” and “swine.” To tell them again about Christ’s salvation is like casting a pearl to a hog; or to give a holy thing to a dog.
In the Bible “dogs” refers to an utterly despicable person (Deuteronomy 23:17-18); a hostile pack against the godly: "The dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me..." (Psalm 22:16; 2 Kings 8:3); those who will be left out of heaven: Revelation speaks of our heavenly home, and says, "But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever love and practices a lie" (Revelations 22:15).
II Peter 2:22 helps explain this teaching, “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” The female hogs get all cleaned up, but return to wallow in the filthy mire. It represents those who reform morally, but on the inside, they are unconverted. In the end, they reject the Lord and return to their sins.
There are two reasons given for not telling these people about Jesus anymore. One is, it is for their own good. A dog will swallow almost any thing. Pearls could make them ill. By telling a person over and over about God’s grace when he doesn’t even admit he is a sinner, will only harden him.
Second, a hog can be extremely aggressive. If you gave him a pearl, he might attack you ferociously. Telling dedicated Muslims about Jesus has cost some Christians their lives.
This does not mean we are not to present the Gospel to every man, at least once. It does mean we are not to continue offering it to those who have thoroughly, rejected it. The worst sinners can be saved if they are willing. It means we are not to present the gospel to those who are obstinate; who have rejected it; who are determined not to accept our Lord’s grace.
There are those who despise the knowledge of Christ. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). We should spend our time witnessing to those who appreciate the Gospel, not to those who despise it.
Those God has called and have refused to fear the Lord, reach a point where God will not speak to them: “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD. They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof” (Proverbs 1:28-30).
The obedient Christian will humbly and prayerfully discern who is open to the gospel and who is in a reprobate position, not willing to receive Christ or even to listen to His story.
We are urged to ask God for wisdom in this and other matters (James 1:5-8). We must realize that sometimes the right thing to do is to keep our mouth shut. (Philippians 1:8-11). A faithful steward learns when those times are. In the Western World, the church continues to try and attract the unsaved pagans to come to church, to become Christians, though they have rejected the Gospel a hundred times. In the meanwhile, millions who have never heard remain unreached.
Jesus would not say a single word to the inquiring Herod: “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him” Luke 23:8,9). If this had been one of our disobedient modern day disciples, he might have said to Herod, “God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life.” This man had cut off the head of John the Baptist. Silence was his sentence.