Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tithing Under Grace, Or Under Law?

6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6 NKJV

 Under Grace, He has cleansed and forgiven all of our faults, missteps, failures, and sins. Under Grace, He has provided us a new and living way for us to appropriate all His promises and provision. Under Grace, we have a living and vital, loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

 Such good and glad news to know we are abiding under Grace. With such good news, one would be hard-pressed to find fault, contention, and controversy. Yet, whenever the good news is proclaimed what it seems to produce in the minds of some is irrational arguments, protests, and objections. Many feign agreement with this New Covenant of Grace, but immediately cite the many supposed errors and dangers of this message. 

 This is the rotten fruit of the traditions of men. Christ came to set us free and religion and tradition seek to keep us bound to Law, and ordinances and rituals rooted in men's tradition. One of the most detrimental affront to the Body of Christ is this insistence on the continuation of practices that are rooted in Old Covenant Law. One such practice is the obligatory giving of a tenth of all that comes into one's hands. 

Wait, brother, Tithing is New Testament because Jesus said to tithe during His Earthly ministry.

 To respond to this misunderstanding first we must establish some truths about the Lord Jesus Christ. First, He was born under the Law, not under Grace, (see Galatians 4:4-5). Being born under Law proves that His birth didn't establish the beginning of the New Covenant. Jesus triumphant resurrection and the coming Holy Spirit is where we see the beginning of the New Covenant. 

 When Jesus mentioned tithing note the full context.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Matthew 23:23 NKJV
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees concerning "matters of the Law". This was not Him giving those under Grace a future command to continue this practice of tithing.

Is Grace saying we hate the Law or disregard the Law?

 Absolutely not! Grace just understands the purpose of the Law. The Law is God's perfect standard. It isn't abolished in Christ but fulfilled in Him. The Law or the perfect standard proves to the World that all have fallen short and need a Savior. 

 Paul stated in Romans that the Law is good and perfect. Allow me to cite some principles about the Law. When Israel was given this Law it had several purposes. Certainly, the main purpose was to prove to men they needed salvation. The Law came that offenses may abound. It was there to prove this is a standard that no one can keep. That said, there existed other purposes that God gave this Law to Israel. 

 First, He gave this Law as a means to guide and protect the Nation of Israel. For example, some of the dietary Laws helped preserve the health of the Nation during this time. Secondly, the Law helped the Lord have a publicly set apart people for Himself. Finally, the Law provided us with many types and shadows of the Finished Work and Jesus' work of redemption for all. 

 Now that we have the substance, we no longer need the shadows and types. Therefore, there is no need for the Church to continue in practices rooted in the Law. What much of religious tradition fail to understand is the all or nothing standard of the Law. Religious tradition insists we must continue Tithing under the New, yet in reality, much of the Church as a whole have not even actually tithed themselves.

 I can already hear the objections. "Brother, I have given a tenth of every dollar I have ever had, what do you mean I haven't tithed?" This is crucial, just because you give ten percent to the local church doesn't mean you have actually tithed. What? You say I have lost it and you strongly disagree. Well, if we are required to follow a practice from the Law then you best follow all the Law requires when it instructs about tithing. 

 Under the Law, One must bring the tithe to the priest. The tither then is under obligation to recite four things. Before the Priest and the Lord, the tither is to recount their origin. Then they were to recount their persecution. Then they were to recount their deliverance at the hand of the Lord. Finally, they were to ask God's blessing on all their land and livelihood, (See Deut 26).

 Also, under Law if one does not give the exact amount of the tithe, then they are obligated to pay the Lord 20% of their tithe as back payment, (See Lev 27:30-31). What am I saying? I am simply revealing this over the top standard of following the Tithe. These actions are simply what it means to Tithe the Tithe. The truth is under Law it is never enough. 

 Traditions of men, create ways and means to try to earn the blessings and favor of God. This causes men to look unto God as this austere task master who is perpetually angry or disappointed in His people. Religion is quick to create rules, programs, and practices designed to appease this perceived wrath of God. By teaching we owe God a percentage of our income, religion effectively controls the people with fear and perpetuates this image of God.

Is Tithing under Grace or Law? It is clear from Scripture that Tithing is an Old Covenant Law practice. Be released from this bondage of fear and anxiety concerning how much you give to the Lord's work. Freedom from religion is an open door to the freedom of a loving relationship with a loving Savior. 

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