It’s often at the start of a new year that pastors and ministries take the opportunity to focus on teaching the value and importance of giving as it relates to God’s work in the earth through the ministry of the gospel. I won’t be taking to the pulpit to do so, but I would like to share some things as it relates to the biblical giving referred to as tithes and offerings.
First, let me defuse some growing misconceptions building in the body of Christ. There is a teaching gaining traction that the tithe is a practice of Old Testament law and therefore is no longer a requirement for the present believer. Well, if you look at the tithe and offering as a requirement of law then this is correct, but what isn’t correct is that as present day believers we shouldn’t institute or practice the system of tithing and the giving of offerings. I’ll go more into why not a little later in this article, but let me address the issue of law. There seems to be much confusion in the Church today as it relates to the law. Law is a governing principle and authority that institutes and establishes order by requirements and restrictions assigning both benefits and consequences to the subject to which the law is intended to provide and protect. When a law is respected and observed it produces benefits, but when a law is violated it requires that the violator face the consequences so to satisfy and restore correct order. Everything pertaining to God, His creation, His government and His Kingdom is bound by the law of His nature. This was true even of mankind until he chose to violate the law of God’s nature and, thus, became a lawless being. In fact, we were created to be the personified essence of His nature in creation thus ruling creation according to the law of His nature which is that love that begets life.
When God gave Moses the law He did so for the purpose of instituting the law of His nature over mankind who was now a lawless being. Because we were a lawless being the very presence of the law of God provoked in us a response of defiance. As a result the law only had the power to judge and condemn mankind, and the penalty of the law was death. The only way the law could be satisfied and restore correct order according to the law of God’s nature was by way of death. Everything in the law served as a tutor to mankind of the function and system of God’s divine nature on earth as it is in Heaven, but it was unable to restore mankind to the original nature of God’s image and likeness. This, however, explains why Jesus had to come, and in His coming He did not destroy the law because that would mean destroying the very nature of God Himself, but He came to fulfill the law. Then He would satisfy the violation of the law by giving His own life in place of us who’s life the law determined was guilty.
As a result of our acceptance of Jesus Christ by faith we are no longer condemned by the law that stimulated our lawless nature empowering death in us, but we are now transformed by the Holy Spirit to the law of life, and as a result are free from the law of sin and death, both being the law of God’s divine nature. However, the first was the law that served to judge us because we were enemies of His nature, while the other is the law that works within us transforming us into the likeness of His nature. The first imposed on the flesh the requirements of His nature which the sin nature of flesh was incapable of fulfilling, but Christ did fulfill it in the form of sinful flesh, and now by the Spirit of Christ the law of life empowers us and produces in us everything pertaining to His divine nature. With this knowledge we then understand that the law itself isn’t destroyed, but the penalty enforced by the law is in Christ, and the law itself is being fulfilled in us. So the law is no longer a system imposed upon us, but a life that works in and through us to transform us into the image and likeness of God in Christ. Why is this important? Because the letter of the law with its requirements was an external system according to the divine nature of God that stood to condemn us and obligated mankind to traditions and rituals that earned him access to God, but was unable to save him from the enslavement to a nature that remained hostile to God. The law of the Spirit of life is the internal power of God manifesting the attributes of His divine nature through mankind whose faith is in Christ.
So how does any of this relate to the tithe and offerings? According to the law this was a tradition or ritual imposed on mankind so that the behavior of man would mimic the nature of God. It was an act that went against everything the flesh determined was a benefit for itself. It is the nature of flesh to pursue its self-will, to control the course of its own welfare, and place self above all else. This results in decisions, attitudes and behaviors of greed, envy, fear, jealousy and strife. The command to tithe and give offerings worked to temper this aspect of our flesh nature and discipline it according to the order of God’s nature which is giving, generosity, prosperity, increase and blessing. Now that the law of the Spirit of life is at work in us who believe, this aspect of God’s nature is a part of who we are. So the practice of giving is not an obligation, but a condition of our new nature in Christ. So why the church? The church is the governmental system of God in the earth created and instituted for the purpose of carrying out the mission and ministry of the gospel of Christ and His Kingdom. Jesus said, “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” [Matthew 6:30-33]. He also said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” [Matthew 16:18]. Jesus is the foundation upon whom the church is built, and He builds His church with living stones, which are those who believe. The promise is that hell itself will not prevail against it. So I am of the thought that anything we do not want hell to overpower is best placed in the church: God’s system of government. Meaning this means that our resources of time, talent and treasure if prioritized first to serve God and His Kingdom He has made the promise to provide and protect those resources. It could be argued that He has even made the promise to bring increase to them in our lives. I believe the increase He promises to pour out is the direct result of our operating in His divine nature, thus having access to the unlimited supply His nature produces. Remember that everything created by God is an extension of His nature. This is why when a seed is sown it produces a harvest of multiplicity of like kind. As we sow our resources out of His divine nature we activate the law of His nature, which multiplies that resource in our lives.
I trust from this article you have come to understand in a greater way that the truths of God that are meant to empower us to grow and mature in all aspects of Christ so that our lives bare the fruit of His nature that is now working in us by His Spirit. I also trust that you now better understand why the practice of tithes and offerings is of great value to the life of the believer.
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:1-9)
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-12)
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38)
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.” (2Corinthians 9:6-12)