Monday, December 1, 2014

Is Tithing a Commandment for New Testament Believers?

““Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!”

You ask: “How do we rob You?”

“By not making the payments of the tenth and the contributions.””
–Malachi 3:8

The Old Testament clearly hands the command to tithe. A tithe is giving ten percent of all that one received from God back to Him. The instruction was to bring that amount into the temple which paid for the priest’s salary, provided a form of society for the poor, and functioned similar to a state tax for the nation. Today, the temple has been replaced by the church for New Testament believers. In addition the replacement of the temple many social safety nets are provide for the poor or disabled though the government, instead of the church. The theme of cheerful giving is a thread thought the Word of God. Let me remind you of a few things about tithing:

1. Jesus praised tithing in Luke 11:42.

Even though He was rebuking the Pharisees, he praised the fact that they did give their 10 percent to the temple. He rebuked them on the fact that that was all they would give. To the Pharisee giving was an item on a checklist to prove righteousness.

2. All your blessings are from God. (1 Chronicles 28:29)

In 1 Chronicles 28:29, King David prayed and said, “everything in the heavens and on the earth belongs to you.” The principle is that anything you have is a gift from God. Your abilities, health, skill set/trade, and opportunities are all gifts from God. Just think if you had been born in 12th century Mongolia on a random mountain top would you have all you have today?

3. We have been given more privileges and responsibilities than Old Testament Saints. (Hebrews 11:13)

The saints of old lived by faith, but had a forward looking faith to the fulfillment of the promises of God. We have many more privileges than the Old Testament Saints. We know Christ, we have the completion of the Word of God, and we have the Holy Spirit dwelling with us daily to help us! Therefore, we should give at least what the Old Testament saints were expected to give, even though it is not commanded.

4. Give from a heart of gratitude for the salvation we have been given (2 Corinthians 9:7).

The apostle Paul never asks for a tithe to be given in the New Testament, instead he implores them to give from a heart of joy and gratitude. We should give from a heart of joy, not expecting a return. Remember God loves a cheerful giver!

No, tithing is not a command, but it is a guideline to check the blind spot of greed in our life. Should we settle for a lower bar of giving than was expected in the Old Testament?

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