Thursday, January 14, 2010

More on Tithing

Clearly when one looks to the Bible the picture of giving a tenth is found pre-law, during the period of the Law, and then one discovers something changes in the New Testament. It is at this point that some will argue that the above statement proves our disregarding the tithe in the New Testament under the New Cov. I disagree with those who would say this and in fact I think that what they miss is vital to more than this discussion of the tithe.

GRACE is the incredible reality that God did for us, who did not deserve it, what we could not do nor could the Law do - GRACE allowed me and everyone reading this post to have the opportunity of Salvation through the person of Jesus Christ due to His death, burial, and resurrection. Oh to GRACE how great a debtor I am! In fact, I love the words to the song sung by Travis Cottrell - Jesus Saves! I am listening to it right now as I post. It is this topic and more the reality of GRACE that opens the window into the plan of God. It is the picture that describes more vividly than anything else can just who God is and why He is so incredible!

When one reads the laws that were given to Israel, one needs to understand that those laws were in fact, by living up to them, the only way from a human situation, that a person could be accepted by God. The law shows each of us that we need a Saviour. For none of us can live up to and keep the law. Jesus Himself said that He came to "fulfill the law..." in Matt 5:17 and NOT to destroy it. He became the sacrifice and thus fulfilled the law for us. Not that we are under the law as we clearly in Galatians. We are free. Yet, the "being under..." is not the issue.

The law was clearly a picture for us of God's standard. In the tithe, regardless of the crops issue that some so want to claim, the law only continued what was already seen in pre-law days. In the New Testament, no mention is required to know that the standard had not changed and the picture is still present with one very important fact - GRACE raised the mark.

As we under GRACE are the recipients of such great love, the question must be asked pertaining to the tithe as to how or why or what then should we do? Clearly a person is free to NOT tithe. Clearly that person would NOT be destined for hell on the issue of the tithe. Clearly 10% is not a requirement. For under GRACE, all of our lives are called into the position and obedience of FULL surrender. If a person says "I tithe 10% and thus I am doing well." That person is abusing the principle of the tithe and the GRACE factor. Clearly the minimum from the beginning of scripture through the end is seen in the 10% example. But in Christ's surrender to the Will of God for us, the issue is no longer "a tenth" or "what is the minimum" but rather my WHOLE life, finances and all are to be yielded to Him. Colossians makes it clear that everything we do is to be done to His Glory.

So would we do less than the law asked for? Would we do less than what was done in pre-law times?

Absolutely NOT!

And this gets us to the issue of the church. And the fun will continue!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Tithe, Law, New Testament, and Grace

Often people only view the law in Old Testament when trying to validate the tithe or invalidate it. It is clear that the Law teaches tithing for Israel. There is usually NO arguments or discussions about this fact save for the 3 tithe issue. The discussions get heated however when the topic of New Testament practice begin.

As we have previously noted, Jesus makes mention of the tithe in His conversation with the Pharisees. In a future post we will look at the teachings of the Apostle Paul and some key things that must be noted and applied when accurately developing a case for or against the tithe from his teachings and life.

What seldom is noted in current discussions is the fact that the tithe appears PRE - LAW in the Old Testament. Abraham and Jacob both voluntarily embraced the tithe (the giving of a tenth). It is in this study that we discover the Biblical Heart of the tithe. For the arguments against the tithe due to legalism, this study sheds light on the misuse of Legalism in the discussion and the truth that the Biblical Tithe has always been voluntarily done out of love for the Lord God.

The Law codified the tithe for the nation of Israel. The standard of the tenth was kept from pre - law to the law. If you will continue to trace the journey of the tithe, you will discover that unlike the FOOD issues, the tithe is never repealed. The tithe is embraced just as Abraham, Jacob, and the law embraced it. Jesus told the Pharisees that they should have given the tithe while also doing other things. Not once did he say "stop giving the tithe!" Why? What about GRACE?

I actually love the discussion of GRACE in light of the tithe. The norm and error by many as seen in our current culture inside the church, is to argue that we are under GRACE thus the tithe is no longer valid. The acceptance of less than 10% is thusly justified when one takes this appraoch. While another major error is made in the acceptance that 10% is enough. GRACE changes the discussion. Neither are accurate.

And we will continue here later in the week...