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Preaching the Gospel Doesn't Constitute Regeneration

I read something recently where someone was defending a heretic because they've preached the Gospel before. In this man's estimation, if a person preaches the Gospel then the suspected heretic must be regenerated. This person's entire premise for their reasoning was based on Jesus' teaching on what comes out of a person makes them unclean...

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.'" Matthew 15:11

"Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them."Matthew 15:16-20

Because they were teaching the Gospel, which is good, then the messenger must also be good. First, we have to look at what Jesus was talking about by putting it into context to see if that logic stands up. The reason Jesus said these statements was because Pharisees and teachers of the Law noticed His disciples were eating without having washed their hands first. They were challenging Jesus and His obedience to the Law. Eating with unwashed hands was ceremonially unclean and breaking the Law. Ritual washing of the body preceded many religious functions for Jews. Even today, many (Muslims also) adhere to the ritual cleansing practices before prayer, for fasting, for celebrating certain religious functions, etc.

These men were accusing Jesus of not adhering to the Law that He claimed to uphold, by demanding His disciples adhere to the Law thus trying to discredit Christ with the people. "He claims to be a Jew. He claims to be a Rabbi. He claims to be Messiah and God in the flesh, but He's allowing His own disciples to break the Law."

Jesus turned it around on them by showing them there was nothing that could enter the body that would make them unclean. Man is unclean, unholy and depraved at conception. The body is temporary. It's always in a state of decay from birth and it would return to dust. There was absolutely nothing they could do for themselves to make themselves clean. What they should be afraid of was that which was inside. What's in the heart makes them and all mankind unclean because the heart is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). No amount of ritual cleansing was going to cleanse that. You can take a leper and wrap them in the finest silk, but it's still just a rotting leper under a pretty cloth whose decomposing flesh will quickly ruin that silk. By adhering to strict Laws they were missing not just the whole point of the Law, but the real issue: what's inside man is filthy and vile and there was nothing that could cleanse that. They could have washed themselves until their skin came off, but inside they were still rotting, defiled corpses in clean whitewashed tombs.

Jesus said...
 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:25-28

With understanding the above a little better does that mean if someone preaches the Gospel they must be one of God's? Absolutely not. Just as Jesus pointed out that not everyone who calls Him "Lord" will enter the kingdom. Saying all the right things is not an indicator. Jesus gave the stipulation...action backing up the mouth. Talk is cheap.

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21

Paul also mentioned the type of people who preach the Gospel for reasons and motivations other than seeing man reconciled to God...

"It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains" Philippians 1:15-17
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ." 2 Corinthians 11:13
 "and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." 1 Timothy 6:5

Many have the appearance of being godly to all those on the outside, but deny it by how they live. There's many reasons people preach the Gospel, but not always for pure reasons or because they're truly Believers. Just because you're hearing the Gospel means nothing about the person delivering it. God saves in spite of man, not because of man.

There are many people who have good doctrine, who know the truth, but still are not regenerated.
"ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:7
They learn, they can follow along with it, they can teach it, but are never able to come to that saving knowledge themselves. Talk is cheap. Jesus said by their fruit we'll know them (Matthew 7:16) not by if they preach the Gospel or not. Anyone can act righteous and say all the right things for a few hours a day or when a camera is turned on them. It's taking what they teach, comparing it to the standard we're to use for testing (Scripture) and  looking for the bearing of fruit in a person. If the teaching is wrong we're to have nothing to do with them. If the fruit is missing we're to have nothing to do with them despite the Gospel they preach.

Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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