Thursday, January 10, 2019

Does the Bible Still Say to Tithe?

When people ask this question they are often asking whether or not God requires them to give 10% of their income to the church.  Both the Old and New Testaments say a lot about giving and the use of personal possessions for God’s glory.  I strive never to manipulate or pressure people to give, as it is a matter of the heart between God and the Christian.  My duty is to preach the Word of God faithfully and help God’s people to understand that our giving is an act of worship and a matter of the heart. 

The Old Testament tithe was an Old Testament practice, which was eradicated when Jesus Christ gave Himself on the cross of Calvary for our sins (Matt. 5:17-18; Rom 10:4; Gal. 3:23-25; and Eph. 2:15).  Jesus Christ was the righteous fulfillment of every aspect of the Old Testament Law.  Christians are no longer under the Law of God but under the Covenant of Grace.  However, God still calls Christians to His high standards of holiness and yet it is only possible because of Jesus Christ’s imputation of holiness upon those who believe in Him.   

Over the years the Christian church appears to have adopted 10% as the measurement to give to their local church.  Many who embrace that amount do so because of the teaching in the Old Testament.  Actually, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes, which if combined, would be in excess of 25% of their income.  I would agree that this is a good and reasonable practice.  The New Testament also provides instruction on giving, which is giving with “great generosity” and with a “joyful heart” (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7).  According to the New Testament, there is no set amount or recommended amount of giving.  However, Christians are called to give generously, sacrificially, and joyfully.  They are called to respond to needs without restraints and to trust God in great faith for His provision.

I do not desire to be legalistic about giving; however, many Christians struggle with how much they should give.  It can be said that the Old Testament provides a framework under a system of Law in terms of how much to give, which was at least 10%.  We are blessed to live under the Covenant of Grace because of the work of Jesus Christ.  Praise God we are not bound to laws that we could never fulfill.  It could be said, “How much more should we desire to bless God with as we live under this amazing Covenant of Grace?”  Christ taught regularly about the struggle between one’s possessions and eternal matters.  In fact, He said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I believe that the joy of giving stems from being touched by the grace of God and personally being the recipient of the Gospel of Christ.  Our duty is to bring our offerings as an act of worship and praise to God.  It should be given with a heart that is fixed on advancing God’s church and the Gospel Message.  Those who struggle with giving miss out on the blessing of honoring God with their material resources that God has entrusted to each believer.  We as Christians are stewards of what God has blessed us with.  Ultimately, we are accountable to Him in terms of how we give, share, and manage those resources.

Please know, as your pastor, my wife and I count it an honor to give and want to be an example to the flock of God in this area.  God has called us to worship Him with all that we are and all that we have.  May He never be disappointed.

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