Posted by: Harry Sasnowitz | August 6, 2017

Tithing: Exposing The False Narrative

It’s more than unfortunate that many teachers and pastors teach that “tithing” was established as an “eternal principle before the law” (through Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek: Genesis 14:18-20) and that it was also embraced by Christ after the law (Matthew 23:23), which therefore shows that tithing “transcends the law” and is a mandate upon the believer.

INCORRECT ON BOTH ACCOUNTS.

1) In Genesis, Abraham gave 10% of the plunder that he took from the spoils of war; wasn’t even his own resources. He did this ONE TIME (to Melchizedek). There’s no biblical record that he ever tithed again. How do we glean an “eternal principle” from a one time gift? How do we make “binding doctrine” from a poorly exegeted Old Testament proof-text?

2) In Matthew 23:23, Jesus tells the religious leaders of that day that they should pay attention to the “weightier matters of the law” (justice, mercy and the love of God) while not neglecting their “tithing” which was also in their law. Jesus’ audience is JEWISH LEADERS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT LAW. The New Covenant had not yet been ushered in since Christ had not yet been crucified and resurrected… the Old Covenant was still in effect and the Jews were therefore required to keep it.

THIS IS NOT POST-LAW! Jesus is teaching the law to those under the law. WE, AS BELIEVERS, ARE NOT JEWS UNDER THE LAW! To project this proof-text upon a New Covenant people as mandate is wholly and totally illegitimate.

Other teachers will soften their message a bit; they won’t say that tithing is a requirement, BUT…….. (and here comes the hook) they will say things like “since the law reveals the unchanging character of God, tithing (to the local institution, of course) is something that God would WANT us to do.

This is a very subtle, sly and manipulative way that pastors influence the psyche of believers to get them to give what they want them to give (10% of their gross income), in the way they want them to give it (to the local institution). The spirit of control is as the sin of witchcraft, whether functioning in it consciously or unconsciously.

If the law was truly given to believers as a helpful tool to “reveal the character of God,” or to “show us what God is like,” or to somehow function as a means of guidance for the believer, well, apparently the Apostle Paul missed that memo. He makes it clear that the law was “nailed to the cross with Jesus” (Colossians 2:14), so that we would no longer live by the oldness of the letter but by the newness of the Spirit (Romans 7:6). In 2nd Corinthians 3, Paul refers to the law as “the ministry of death and condemnation.” In Galatians 2:19, he states that he “died to the law that he might live for God.” And the author of Hebrews states that with the ushering in of the New Covenant, the Old has been made obsolete (Hebrews 8:13).

To try to propagate the idea that the law, as it relates to the believer, is “a revealer of God’s character” or “a means by which to show us what God is like” or “a guide for our life” and therefore “helpful to a believer’s life of faith” is ludicrous. It shows a stunning lack of understanding of the New Covenant and its implications on the life of the believer. Such teaching needs to be recognized for what it is; Old Covenant, performance-based legal bondage dressed in fine-sounding spiritual garb.

When the Bible says that Jesus “fulfilled the law,” it was in NO WAY meant to exalt the law in a positive light, or to somehow be an example of how believers should embrace the law or follow Jesus’ example in some sort of way! And this is where many pastors and teachers (like John Piper), through a misguided interpretation of this scripture, take believers into a confusing mix of law and grace which hinders one’s growth in Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law in order to deliver us from it, and to introduce a new and better way to relate to, receive from and live before God; the New Covenant. It is nothing like the Old. It’s a better covenant, established on better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

The law was “our tutor to lead us to Christ.” (Galatians 3:24). We don’t look to the law to reveal the character of God; we look to Christ. We don’t look to the law to show us what God is like; we look to Christ. We don’t look to the law as a helpful guide to our life of faith; we rely on Christ and His Spirit which indwells our hearts. Jesus declared, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” The author of Hebrews states that Jesus is “the express image of God and exact representation of His likeness.” Through Jesus we see the unchanging character of God, and the demonstration of how life is to be lived in relationship with a loving heavenly Father. It’s in Christ (our union with Him) that we find all the sufficiency we need for all faith and practice.

And as it pertains to giving under the New Covenant, as people living in Christ, we are called to give to WHOEVER………. however, whenever and wherever as we are led by His Spirit. It’s really that simple.

 

 

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Responses

  1. In those days the words had literal meanings that fit to the story of Christ and what was done on the cross.
    Nail ; 6. On the nail in hand; immediately; without delay or time of credit; as, to pay money on the nail. — Websters 1828 Dictionary
    `Mike

    Like


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