Sunday, January 25, 2009

To Tithe Or Not To Tithe II

In an article dated December 28, 2008 I wrote the first part of "To Tithe Or Not To Tithe?" In it I shared that tithing (donating 10% of our income to God’s work) is often taught as a biblical requirement. This teaching is based primarily on a portion of scripture from the book of Malachi, chapter 3, verses 8-12. Through Malachi, God challenges his people to “prove me now herewith, (by tithes and offerings) saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it…” (Mal. 3:10 parenthesis mine)

The full measure of this portion of scripture says that if we don’t tithe, we are “robbing God,” and that there is a curse on us, and of course, God will not open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing that there is not enough room to receive it.

As I had said in that first article, the problem with this teaching is that this is an attempt by man to “earn” the blessing of God through his own self effort. Like all law, this law was given to men to prove to us that we cannot keep it to God’s standard of perfection and can never attain his blessings by trying to keep it. It is intended to lead us to Christ who kept the whole law for us; and it is through faith in him that we can obtain ALL the blessings that God has for us including this one promised through tithing. All of God’s blessings are free through Jesus.

Attempting to “earn” God’s blessing through tithing is the same as trying to “earn” our salvation by doing enough good works. Neither is possible. The only way to receive either is through our faith in Christ.

It was in Christ that was given to us ALL that God is and ALL that God has. The truth of the matter is that God already opened the windows of heaven and poured us out a blessing that we have not enough room to receive it when he gave us Jesus. This blessing of God, along with any other is already purchased for us and is ours when we accept Jesus as our savior.

In order for you to get a larger picture of this whole idea, along with a New Testament understanding of the role of “giving” (as opposed to tithing), and its importance in our lives, I will refer you back to the 12/28/08 article.

The reason that I am writing this follow up article is for those of you who decide to stop tithing. If you decide to do this as I have, it will take trusting that God has already given you the blessing that Malachi promised, and it will take believing that the blessing is ALREADY yours in Christ instead of trusting in tithing. And that may not be an easy thing, especially if you have thought for years that tithing was a requirement and that you may be bringing a curse upon yourself if you don’t. It posed a problem for me and may also for you. The problem I faced was one of feeling guilty and struggling with fear of breaking a law of God and of not being blessed. But if you think about it, it is that sense of guilt you may experience that should be a red flag indicating that you are indeed living under the law. Under grace, there is no guilt.

Guilt and fear is the way the law keeps people bound to it. And yet, the law can never help us. We can never keep it well enough for it to do so. In fact I don’t know anyone who has received a blessing so large that they could not receive it, despite years of diligent tithing. On the contrary, most of those I know are still just getting by. And that is because this blessing cannot be earned by our own efforts anymore than salvation can be earned by our own efforts!

So what do you do if you want to break free from the law? What you are going to have to do is to resist guilt and receive grace and freedom AND like I said, you will have to receive the blessing of God by FAITH. That means you must rely on Jesus and what he did for you, rather than on what you can do yourself. And if you think about it, that is a good thing. And that is why Paul calls this fight you're going to have to fight, the "good fight of faith." In this fight, you will need to trust God, not your tithing. Think about what scripture says; that it is through Christ that we are joint heirs, already inheriting with Jesus all that he inherited, and the bible says that he inherited all things. It also says that we are complete in him and that through him have been given all things that pertain unto life and godliness. We do not have to tithe to obtain these immense blessings. They are already ours and obtainable through faith. (Rom. 8:17, Col. 2:10, 2Pet. 1:3)

Now, if you fight this fight, faith will begin to grow in your heart, you will find a new rest in the Lord and the blessing of total provision will begin to manifest itself in your life. After all, that is what Jesus purchased for us. And I can vouch for this because ever since I stopped tithing, (nearly seven years now) my finances have steadily grown and so has my peace with God. I give now according as I purpose in my heart, and as God impresses me to give, and in all cases, my giving (not my tithing) has become sweet and joyous and fulfilling. It is no longer under compulsion or law or of necessity that I give. It is true freedom. Guilt and fear still try to get into my life, but I don’t let them in. Instead, I let the “blessing” in and ALL else that Jesus has purchased for me. I know now that I do not have to fulfill ANY law to be blessed by God except the law of faith because all of the blessings of God are a free gift. I know now that I am not under the law. I am under grace. And as long as I live by faith, the blessing will continue to grow in my life even to the point of not being able to have room enough to receive it. And as my faith grows and my provision grows; so does my desire to give. That is how it works and it is FREEDOM! It is the goodness of God that leads us to any kind of repentance, not the law of God. (Rom. 2:4, 3:27, 6:14)

What I could never accomplish by tithing or any other works of my own, Jesus accomplished for me. And it is through my faith in him that I attain ANY blessing from God and ANY ability to do good for him.

It is now a much better life. In fact, it great. It is one of faith, not of works, it is one of rest and trust in God, not one of futile, tiring trying of my own, a life that was filled with guilt and fear when I didn’t “do enough,” (which was all of the time). And this way of life works. And it will work for anyone who lives it because it is the word of God and the word of God always works. It is our trying harder to please God and to fulfill his requirements that don’t work. (Gal. 3:10-14)

It was a Psalmist who aptly wrote, “O taste and see that the Lord is good. BLESSED is the man who trusteth in him.” (Ps. 34:8)

Submitted by John B. Agati
Author of: “Suffering (God’s Will?)”

More information about this and an upcoming book “Suffering, Unanswered Prayer, (And How to Fix the Whole Thing),” along with a short bio may be found at: www.

No comments: