Liberality Or Legality?
February 25th, 2013
I grew up with the benefit of a Christian dad and mom who made giving to God’s work a top priority in our home. My parents regularly reminded us (My Brother And Two Sisters) that all the money on earth was God’s anyway, and that we are called to give him His tithes and our offerings as a way for us to participate in His ministry. To do otherwise, particularly with respect to tithing, would be to steal from Him. The Bible word is “Rob”. If we do not give a tithe and offering we are not just negligent we are criminals who have “Robbed God”. I grew up with this Biblical foundation established firmly in my life.
I did not even realize as a young man that there was an entire subculture of Christianity that does not believe that tithing is required in the New Testament. Since God allowed me to enter the ministry 29 years ago I have met some of these so called liberated believers who feel no obligation to give a tithe. They view tithing as a form of legalism and in Christ they have been set free from this archaic bondage. May I respectfully say, “I feel sorrow for those who have fallen prey to this insidious teaching.” As a sinner saved by grace, who rejoices in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, I too am thankful for our freedom in Christ. But my old nature certainly understands how people can fall into the false teaching that tithing is a form of legalism. My old nature would like to ignore the scriptures that teach about tithing just like my liberated friends. But there is just too much Bible that won’t let me fall into that disobedience.
II Corinthians 9:6-7 Teaches Us That New Testament Giving Is To Be Done:
1. Bountifully - To Give Abundantly, Liberally And Generously. This Kind Of Giving Is A Much Higher Standard Than Just Tithing.
2. Purposefully - To Plan, It Implies Intention, Resolution And Determination.
3. Not Grudgingly - Giving Should Not Be Done, Unwillingly, Reluctantly, Or Sparingly. Giving Grudgingly Is Giving Done With Hesitation. It Is Cheap Christianity.
4. Not Of Necessity – Don’t Give Because You Have A Need and You Hope God Will See Your Generosity. The Other Extreme Is Not Giving Because You Have A Need! Not Giving Of Necessity Is Giving Regardless Of Financial Hardships And Without Any Expectations That God Who Has Already Blessed You Owes You Anything. This Is Giving That Believes God Deserves My Best Because He Has Already Given Me His Very Best.
5. And Cheerfully - This Is Giving With Rejoicing. Giving With A Thrill. It Is Worship In Our Stewardship. It Is Not Until Giving Is Done Cheerfully That It Is Done Sincerely.
Contrary to the Liberated Theology that the New Testament frees us from the Legalism Of Tithing The New Testament is tougher than the Old Testament. The Old Testament says, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”. The New Testament says, “If You Look On A Woman With Lust In Your Heart You Have Already Committed Adultery.” In the Old Testament God demands a “Tithe And An Offering.” In The New testament Jesus extolls the generosity of a widow who gives her all. The widow was not a 10% giver she was a 100% giver. To be honest with you, I think the Old Testament sounds easier to me!