Drinking Deeply

Friday, February 10, 2006 at 11:53 PM

Tithing (2)

All my planned posts on tithing are complete:

Tithing: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Responding to the comment left by Puritan Belief, it got really long so I decided to put it in another post:

On 2/10/06, Puritan Belief wrote:
> Thank you for putting your thoughts down. I to have gained so much from
> reading through your blog and the extra studies you sent me by email.

> The post I did on "why tithing is wrong" is not something that I rushed
> into. It is something that I have been working through for over 2 years now.
> Men far older then myself in the Lord have shown me the errors in tithing.
>
> And the freedom that comes from GIVING under the NEW COVENANT.

The freedom is not that of "freely giving" but it is that of "freely obeying." In short, the spirit has set us free from the condemnation of the Law and has also given us a new heart that we may obey the law, where previously we were slaves to sin and free from righteousness. Now we are slaves to righteousness, slaves of obedience to God. Obedience is found in following God's laws. I'm not saying that we are justified before God for this, but that we may now, under the New Covenant, freely obey in thankfulness.

Romans 12:1-2 illustrates this perfectly:
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
"In view of God's mercy" - Remembering what God has done for us, He's saved us, rescued us from the sin that condemns us, adopted us as His own, given us all good things.

How do we respond to this? "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices" - We offer all of who we are for God. We live for Him. We think for Him. We eat and drink for Him. Soli Deo Gloria

"This is your spiritual act of worship" - This is how we are commanded to worship God.

It is in view of the cross that we can obey the command to offer up to God what is rightfully His. We are not trying to earn our salvation, nor are we trying to please God, for both of these are already done, we are striving to "work our our salvation in fear and trembling." We are striving, in view of God's completed work on the cross, to follow Him.

>
> Please read some of my responses at Puritan Belief as they deal with a lot
> of what has been said here.
>
> You based that the tithe should be kept using a verse I also used.
>
> "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill
> and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and
> mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the
> others."
>
> The Pharisees are most certainly trying to justify themselves by the Law of
> Moses here and you and I both know this as did Jesus which is why he
> responded. Look Tithing is easy (even though I bet EVEN THEY never
> fulfilled tithing as I am sure you haven't either) Then he loads them up
> with having to complete the whole law including Justice and Mercy of which
> they fail miserably. To say that we Christians under the covenant of His
> blood should be following all the Laws such as the Pharisees is something
> that I know you aren't doing otherwise for one you wouldn't have time to be
> writing a blog.

Wait a moment here. Are you claiming that we are not commanded to perform justice? To have mercy? To practice steadfast love? There is a different issue at play if that is what you are claiming. You're absolutely right that if keeping the law was the condition for my salvation, I would never pass, but that is what the Cross is about. A completion of the law on my behalf with His righteousness imputed to me, to enable me to obey Him more and more in my war against sin.

If we are no longer under law, then there is no longer any sin. For what is sin other than a transgression against God's commandments?

My emphasis of the passage was that the Pharisees are commanded to remember the greater commands, yet still remembering the lesser ones as well. Tithing is the example used, and tithing is a "lesser" command upon us as well.

>
> Hebrews 7 makes it clear that Abraham tithed to Melchizidek because it was
> sufficient and done ONCE. Hence it was fulfilled and FINISHED. Not to show
> that we should do it. It then follows that because of Abraham tithe the
> LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD could tithe for it says "Livi also, who receiveth
> tithes, payed tithes in Abraham."

Where does it say that the tithe is finished? The emphasis of the passage was the superiority of Christ's priesthood and not on the abolishment of the tithe. Even Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek (we are spelling it differently, I think that's interesting =p). It doesn't put the emphasis upon the completion of the tithe, but rather on the authority of Melchizedek and the superiority of that priesthood over that of the Aaronic. Nowhere does it say Abraham tithed to Melchizedek for once and for all.

>
> Now if you still think that it is for us then I say what you should do is
> stop tithing right now and next time you win some money or someone gives you
> something then tithe just from your bounty and ONLY ONCE then you have done
> as Abraham has done. For he never tithed from his own income only of the
> spoils of war and only once.

Where is this in the text? It said that that tithe was out of the bounty. No where does it say that that tithe was the only one ever. (of course, since the Levitical priesthood had not been established we probably can say that he never tithed to the Levites, but I am pointing out that the emphasis of the passage is not upon the sufficiency of one tithe, but upon the supremacy of Christ. It seems entirely possible that Abraham could have been tithing to those that served his household as men of God. Or not, but we don't know.)

>
> Next I think it obvious that there are many Ordinances that the levitical
> priesthood and Israel did which you don't. May I point out that the
> Levitical priesthood is finished all together for it was not sufficient.

Yes, that is the question I asked myself. The question it leads to is "did the tithe originate with the Levitical priesthood?" I pointed to the fact that Melchizedek received tithes to say "no." The laws pertaining to the Levitical priesthood have passed away, but the laws pertaining to Christian living have not.

>
> Now you ended by telling me that the Law is Good. I agree with this fully.
> But first let me tell you that I am not under Moses law next I am not trying
> to complete all its ordinances for I have found a more excellent way and it
> is the way of Jesus. For he became every curse for me that the law demanded.
> I am his slave and slave to righteousness. Does this mean that I start
> murdering stealing etc... GOD FORBID

I think we do need to take a step back here, because now our disagreement is over the application of the Mosaic law. You are stating that the Mosaic law is no longer binding upon us. I disagree. I do agree that we cannot obey the Mosaic law enough for salvation (for that is perfection). But I do not agree that the Mosaic law is no longer upon us.

The cross has freed us from the condemnation of the law, and given us a heart of flesh that allows us to obey God in freedom. I believe that the Mosaic law is still binding upon us, but that God has given a heart to now obey it. That is Christian freedom.

>
> Now this proves a point I am not calling you foolish.
>
> Are ye so foolish, having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by
> the flesh.
>
> I will say to you exactly what Jesus said when people boast in tithing.
> Tithing is good...as long as you are fulfilling all the other tenants of
> the law and never transgress from even one. (Not just 10 commandments I am
> talking ordinances as well)

No one is claiming that we are being perfected by the flesh. No one is claiming that our works allow us to come before God. This is what Paul is rebuking: the fact that Peter gave in to the circumcision party. They are the party that claimed that one had to be circumcised in order to be saved. I am not saying that we must tithe in order to be saved. That is works based righteousness and exactly what Paul is rebuking.

>
> Next all the great verses you gave from 1 Corinthians 9 & 1 Timothy 5 are
> great IF THEY BE DONE BY FAITH IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING.

I think I agree with you here. I'm not saying that one can give abundantly with a wrong heart and still be "obeying" God.

>
> I will leave it here, and you are welcome to the last say on this issue.
>

Finally, and I think Doug pointed this out excellently in the comment on the previous post, 10% is not specified in the NT, but it is a general standard that is used in the OT. Sometimes there is more, but it seems that 10% is the standard. No one is saying "If you're not giving 10% of your gross, you're not saved" here. I am merely saying that the moral commands of the Bible still require us to share all things with those who teach us, and the tithe is part of that, and a good guideline for this is 10%.

Whatever the case is, I think we can both agree that we as Christians should be marked by giving in abundance, giving while in need, and giving even beyond our means. We should not be asking "how closely can we keep the law without breaking it," nor should we be approaching it with pride saying "I am tithing xx% of my income!" but rather we act in humility, remembering that all the earth is the Lord's and our giving of 10% (or more) is our way of remembering that it is God who owns it, and it is God who provides it, and we are giving it as proper wages due to those that labor for us, our ministers of the Word.

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

I really enjoy and say Amen to the way you have answered me here. I think you were building on what I was saying in most areas. If I haven't replied to a point it is because I agree fully to what you say.

Here are some answers.

Nowhere does it say Abraham tithed to Melchizedek for once and for all.

1. Abraham was not commanded to tithe, he did it voluntarily.
2. He tithed the spoils of his warfare, not his income. He was already rich in livestock and goods, but was never commanded to tithe, and never did tithe, as far as the scriptures say.
3. He tithed those spoils of war only one time.

Also Yes it does say that his tithe was sufficient for all the future tithes.

And as I may so say, Livi also who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham This was because when Abraham tithed it was evidently because the sacrifice Jesus was to make was once and for all hence the reason why Melchisedec bought --you guessed it-- bread and wine.

Wait a moment here. Are you claiming that we are not commanded to perform justice? To have mercy? To practice steadfast love?

No, I am sure you didn't get this from what was said. I was saying that the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD is finished. Israel tithed to the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD but now that Jesus has appeared TITHING is abolished and replaced with a more excellent way (See my blog). If you want to do some of the ordinances related to keeping the LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD such as tithing that Jesus fullfilled and hence go back under the old covenant then you would need to complete all of them not just tithing eg not just the 10 commandments but all the ordinances which spoke against us. EG this is an impossibility as was discovered by Israel and all who were under the law then and even those who are trying to live under it now. (Everyone but the sanctified)

For the sanctified are NOT UNDER THE LAW but under Christ. (many scriptures to back this statement up)

I have been debating this topic through email and comments for a while now and are now going to move on as it is wearing me down. (Law has a way of doing this)

I will continue to answer your questions if you can meet me on this one challenge. (Not reading and commenting on your blog on other topics of course)

Have you throughout your whole life fulfilled tithing?

Condition: I am not talking just your income I am talking everything. Every week, every asset on a weekly basis never failing once. Eg like mint cummon etc. From the time you were born until now? On everything?

I will come out straight and say this I FAIL MISERABLY

Kind Regards  

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Blogger T A Blankenship said...

I really appreciate your thoughts on tithing. There are many Christians who are hearing that tithing is of the law. It seems to me from reading Scriptures that tithing is only a beginning place, and that if a person is a genuine born again child of God they should be doing it cheerfully.
Thank you and the Lord for your convictions.  

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