Are Christians still to ‘tithe’ (tenth), as per Old Testament Law? How much should we give to be ‘in Christ’? Uncategorized by admin - January 13, 20140 We are not held to a ‘specific’ amount when doing ‘almsdeeds’ in Christ. This giving is a ‘spiritual matter’ of our ‘heart’, between the giver and our Lord. It is true there was a ‘tenth’ (tithe), given unto the Lord, of all their increase dedicated to sacred use (see Gen.14 with Abraham; Gen.28:20-22 with Jacob; Lev.27:30-33; Num.18:21-28, 31; Deut.10; 12; 14; 18, etc.) And that tithing back then included the coverage of government administration, etc. There was no tax system yet; no social security, etc. Our Government provides many of those functions now, and… for most, it’s way over a ‘tenth’. The Church today is left out of that, so it’s up to us to fulfill the sacred reason for ‘tithes’, that of providing for God’s chosen, and His Purposes of Righteousness. It is the ‘Spirit’ of God’s Law on tithing which now applies for our New Testament example, not a ‘hard line’ rule or ordinance in the ‘have to’ or ‘how much’ sense. It is set forth in 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 & 9 and 1 Corinthians 16:1-3. So what is that Spirit of this Law of alms in Christ now? How does tithing apply now? It is more properly called ‘alms‘ by our Lord (Matt.6). Let’s cover 2 Cor.9 there together: 2 Cor 9:1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: 2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. 3 Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: 4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. Paul is speaking to the Corinthians about how though the Macedonians being poor, yet they still gave freely for other brethren in need (see previous 2 Corinthians Chap.8). He’s saying he had no need to write them on the importance of “ministering to the saints”, for it should be obvious to those ‘in Christ’. Those brethren had prepared their alms a full year prior to Paul’s visit with those who would carry it back to Jerusalem, to be distributed among the poor brethren there (see Romans 15:25-28). 2 Cor 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. These two verses ‘seal’ exactly how, and ‘how much’ to give. Notice nothing is said here about a ‘tithe’, which means ‘a tenth’. An analogy of agricultural ‘sowing’ is used here by Paul, because it was used in The Old Testament as to God’s blessings on those who seek to do right. Sowing ‘sparingly’ vs. ‘bountifully’ is to let us know that if you ‘feel’ like giving a lot, your ‘heart’ leading you, then give ‘cheerfully’, knowing that it will help serve God’s Purpose, and He will still make sure you have what you need afterwards. And this act ‘in the Spirit’ is out of love for our fellow-brethren, and not done out of feelings of ‘necessity’ (“grudgingly” of vs.7), or trying to be within The Law according to a ‘tenth’ or whatever amount. If we feel in our ‘heart’ that we can give more and still be OK with it, then we should do it ‘cheerfully’, understanding the workings of the Grace of God, and not depending on reward. In other words, if a ‘system’ makes one feel that they ‘must’ give a certain amount, as a necessity, and it causes a ‘grudge’, then the ‘heart’ and Spirit of the meaning is taken out of the whole act. This is why God’s teachers, ministers, should not be beggars. A tithing box out in the lobby for people to drop an envelope in is more in accordance with Paul’s teaching than those who send out letters of notice to members, keeping track of how much they give, and bugging them about it. That ‘system’ is setup as a business, not a House of God. I know farmers in my area which help each other in times of need, one neighbor helping another when they are sick and can’t plow the fields, etc. There is no payment involved, though it is usually always offered. Most will not take it. And when that other farmer needs help, the one who recovered from sickness will go and take care of work on their farm when in need, and without the feeling of a ‘payback’ or anything of that manner. It’s done because others have a genuine “need”. The help can be in many different matters; money, food, clothing, odd-jobs, etc., depending on one’s skills. When our People see someone in ‘need’, most just act on instinct, with God putting His Laws in their ‘hearts’ (Hebrews 8:8-10). And we should seek to help our brethren ‘in Christ’ especially, for they have a Mission separate from the non-believer. But anyone truly ‘in need’ is not to be shunned. Now go back to 2 Cor.8: 2 Cor 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. “This grace” Paul is speaking of here is this matter of ‘giving’ alms, as shown at the start of this Chapter 8 also. Just as those in Christ ‘abound’ in faith, teaching, knowledge, diligence, and love, so we should ‘abound’ in giving alms also. And notice verse 8 that Paul was not speaking “by commandment“, but we do this grace out of love for others, and love in Christ. This means no man, no Church ‘system’, can with authority set a certain amount on a member to give in tithes. This matter is of ‘the heart‘ now, not of a hard-rule Law, as in the Old Testament. It is now of the ‘Spirit’ of the Law. It is between the giver and God. (See Acts 5 where certain ones sold a property, vowing to give it as alms, yet held back part of the profit. They didn’t sin against the people [church, i.e. ‘gathering’, ekklesia], they sinned against God.) 2 Cor 8:11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: This giving is according to what we have, meaning ‘abundance’ which we really could ‘spare’, for others who have a genuine ‘need’. It is not according to what we “hath not”, or don’t have in order to give. God does not want our family or children to starve or do without the basic necessities. Verse 13 is clear that those false teachers who beg for alms, and then buy a great big ol’ fancy car, swimming pool, etc., while the givers even give what they ‘don’t have’, doing without necessities, is against the Spirit. 2 Cor 8:14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. The whole purpose for giving is a matter of ‘sharing’ our ‘abundance’, with those who have a real need. And in times when we are need, they share their ‘abundance’ with us. Verse 15 is Paul quoting from Exod.16:18 about gathering the Heavenly ‘manna‘. It was written to gather only the amount which was needed. Even those who had gathered much, disobeying God then, still had nothing left over. Some were severely punished. They were not allowed to store that ‘manna‘. So God seeks an equality between us as children in Christ. Well does this ‘equality’ mean if you’ve got a nice home stereo system, and someone else does not, you should go out and buy them one? Not necessarily; use common sense. What if one in genuine ‘need’ doesn’t have a coat for the winter, nor food for the family? 2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; SUMMARY: As according to Paul’s teaching here, give from ‘your heart’, not according to a set amount. But don’t extend yourself where you or your loved ones are in genuine ‘need’, though even that is according to your ‘faith’ in God to re-supply you with your need (Mark 12:41-44). This is an act between YOU and GOD. It ‘ain’t’ nobody else’s business, period. Each person has different needs in service to our Father. God will only give you what you can take care of. If one can’t give anything because they or their family is in great ‘need’, then the ministers should come to them to offer help obviously, and the needy shouldn’t be looked upon, or treated as second class citizens in the matter either (how does someone poor sitting in Church feel when the ‘plate’ is passed to them, and they don’t have much to put in?). So ‘almsdeeds’ is a spiritual matter, not one in the ‘keeping of Law’ sense. Matt 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father Which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father Which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.