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Tithing Part 2 (Are Christians To Tithe Today?)



The New Covenant and Tithing
There is no place in the New Testament where we are told never to tithe. Paul spoke extensively about tithing, he was never against it, as a matter of fact, he spoke in support of it. He never spoke against it or told any Christian never to tithe. Although he points out that all forms of giving under the New Covenant (with tithing inclusive) are voluntary, not compelling, not by force (1 Cor 16:1, 2; 2 Cor 8:12; 9:7). 
Nevertheless, he never instructed believers not to tithe. Folks who fight against God's tithing system usually use these passages in 2 Corinthians 9:16, 17, to try to discredit tithing. One thing they fail to realize is that tithing isn't even mentioned in these passages. No particular type of seed or offering is mentioned here. Notice that in these passages Paul is talking about how we are to sow our financial and other material seeds under the New Covenant, he's talking about the methodology, not necessarily the kind of seeds we should sow. It does not say or suggest that we should not give our tithe.
Tithe is a type of seed-faith. Paul points out a general principle of giving under the New Covenant, which is that our giving no matter the type is not to be by force, or compulsion, but voluntarily, by faith or love
But then you are to understand also that Tithing wasn't the main subject matter of his discourse in 2 Cor 8: 12; 9: 7
Paul talked about tithing extensively in Hebrews 7:1-32.  And you know Paul encouraged the believers in the early Church to read his epistles in all the Churches. So Hebrews chapter seven must have been read to the other church groups else where at that time. 
You see there are people who read what Paul taught about tithing in the epistle to the Hebrews, and get into the error of thinking that everything he said in that epistle was said exclusively to the Hebrew Christians only, and that the other Churches were not included. But you must remember as earlier stated that Paul advised that all of his epistles must be read in all the Churches of Christ (Col 4:16; 1 Thess 5:27)
Therefore the Epistle to the Hebrew Christians must have also been read to all the Churches at Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica, Corinth, Rome,e.t.c, just like the epistles to the other Churches were also read to the Hebrew Christians. They all knew about tithing. You see, time and space would not permit Paul to talk about everything God revealed to him just in one place, so he had to spread the New Covenant revelation as epistles across the many early Churches established then. Then he advised them to circulate his epistles among themselves. It is true that sometimes Paul said and wrote certain things that were peculiar to certain Churches, but then that did not mean that the other Churches could not learn from those things. Paul's revelations weren't all just located in only one epistle. It was spread over many epistles. This explains why when studying, it's very important to study not just one portion of scripture concerning a particular subject matter, but to study the whole body of revealed truth relating to a particular subject matter. Study it from context. This will enable you to have a better and broader understanding of the word. Rather than just lumping everything together, without rightly dividing the word of truth. In addition to this, we need to understand the 
difference between these two different but closely related terminologies, stated facts and revelation.
Fact is what is stated in the word of God. The direct statements of fact stated in the word of God. One may know the stated facts and still not have the revelation. This happens to be the challenge of a vast majority of Bible teachers, and majority of Christians. They state a lot of facts (head knowledge), quote a lot of passages and still miss the point. 
Revelation  on the other hand, is the insight and understanding which the Holy Spirit gives you concerning the truth that is stated in the word of God, and this must be in line with the finished work of Christ and our relationship with Him in the New Covenant. It is the life changing insight that the Holy Spirit helps us to get from the things (i.e., the facts) that are stated in scripture. 


Tithing;Not By Force, Not Compulsory, But very Beneficial
Tithing is not by force or compulsion under the New Testament. God is not forcing anyone to bring their tithes and offering, just like He never forced Abraham to tithe. Giving under the New Covenant is one hundred percent voluntary. Paul Himself declares firmly,"...for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor 9: 7), if this were not so, then that will go against the spirit of giving under the New Covenant.           
The word "cheerful" is from the Greek word "hilaros", from which we get the English word "hilarious", which by interpretation means, joyousprompt to do personwillingenthusiastic. 
Most Christians look at tithe as a debt which they owe God. As a matter of fact, for so many years we have been told that not tithing is stealing from God. We've even been told that we are robbing God and would be cursed if we don't "pay" our tithes. This is the wrong way to look at your tithe. The good news is that none of these religious views about tithing is true. You have to change the way you look at your tithe. Your tithe is not a debt you owe God, rather you are to see it as a seed you sow.   Concerning giving under the New Covenant, Paul also indicates that our giving is not by commandment, but a way to express our love for Christ and His cause (2 Cor 8: 7, 8)
We don't give because we have to give. As a matter of fact, don't even give if you really don't want to give. Don't give if you are not willing to give. This is the New Covenant methodology of giving. If you choose never to give anything at all, no one is going to kill you, God will not kill you, He will not force you to give. This was what Paul emphasized in 2 Corinthians 9: 6: 6, 7. Truly, you can't read this passage and still think that we who are under the New Covenant are under obligation to tithe or sow any other kind of seed,or offering, or that we are cursed if we refuse to tithe. This is the fundamental truth of the New Covenant. No form of giving or sowing is compulsory. 
Nevertheless, the other side of the truth which we must understand is that, God is not saying we shouldn't give. 2 Corinthians 9: 6,7 is not saying we shouldn't give offerings, tithes or seeds. That passage is simply telling us how God wants us to do all our giving, the methodology - it should be up to us to decide to give or not to give, what to give or not to give. We are not to give out of necessity, i.e., out of obligation, or compulsion. We are not to give based on fear, or intimidation. 


You Determine Your Harvest
Although tithing, offerings and seeds, and all other forms of giving are not obligatory under the New Covenant, nevertheless, we are to understand that under Grace, God has bestowed on us the responsibility to determine the harvest we want. Under grace we are responsible for how we receive from God. 
After a person is born again, we find that there are various degrees of enjoyment of this new life and God's blessings that we have. We receive the same life in Christ, the same grace, the same inheritance and blessings, etc., But the degree at which we individually enjoy or manifest God's blessings in our lives varies. The reason is that you determine for yourself how much of the blessings you want to enjoy. You determine the degree of the manifestation of God's blessings in your life. It is not a luck thing. Paul said,

"grow in grace through the knowledge of Christ..." (2 Pet 3:18)

This means that the degree of revelation knowledge we have in the word of God determines the extent of God's Grace that we enjoy or operate in. We enjoy or operate in God's grace through revelation knowledge. You see, Whether you have the knowledge or not, God's Grace has already been made available.  But you need the right knowledge of it, because without knowledge you cannot believe and exercise faith in God's Grace. You cannot exercise faith in something you have no knowledge about. This explains why having the right knowledge of the word of God is important.
This also explains why you see some Christians who are enjoying their inheritance and blessings in Christ more than others. It's not that they are more righteous, or better in any way, or that God loves them more. It's just that they have discovered how to influence their harvest or the manifestation of God's blessings in their lives. Our tithes, offerings and other seeds are channels through which we stir up God's blessing and prosperity into manifestation in our lives. They stir up God's blessing and prosperity already in our lives. 
Make no mistakes here. Our tithes, offerings and seeds don't move God to do anything more than what He's already done for us in Christ. Instead they move us to appropriate, and enjoy the blessings and prosperity that God has already given us. They enable us release our faith to stir up our harvest. That's why Paul said, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly...(2 Cor 9:6). This means that we determine the harvest we reap. Its up to us. And we do this through our tithes, offering and seeds.   
For the man who doesn't give, or decides not to tithe, there is no law against you, there are no curses against you. If you chose not to give or tithe, God will not take away His blessings from you, neither will He bless you more when you give. He's already blessed you with all His blessings and ability, whether you give or not (Eph 1: 3; Rom 8:32). God loves us independent of our performance, and this includes whether or not we tithe.
However, because you decide not to tithe, then you are limiting yourself - you are restricting your harvest by yourself. You rub yourself of the privilege that God has given to you to determine the degree of the manifestation of your harvest and His blessings in your life, in His own way, and not the worlds own way. And this is a sad matter, because no wise person will deliberately want to limit his harvest.  
This is just the same case as the Christian (a believer in Jesus Christ) who decides never to pray again.  Not praying won't stop him from being the child of God that he/she already is, it wont affect God's love for him or her. Nevertheless, there are so many things about the power of prayer that he or she will miss, and there are even things about God's workings that such a person will miss or never understand. Such a person robs him or herself of such blessed experience. This is how it is for those Christians who decide never to tithe. 

Your Tithe is a Unique Type of Seed
You remember that it is only what you sow as seed that can be multiplied back to you. This is the principle of sowing and reaping. So if you choose never to give, then there will be nothing for you to harvest. Only the man who sows can have a harvest to reap. Every farmer knows that in order to have a harvest, they must plant a seed, or seeds (if they want a greater harvest).
You see, a real lover is a giver. You cannot claim you love the Lord and not give to advance His cause. The proof of your love is your seed. It is the witness of your love for the Lord. The greatest way to prove you love for the lord is to support His cause with your material resources. John said,

"...let us not just love in words, nor in tongue; but in deed..." (1 John 3:18)

We love by giving, not just by our confession of love for the Lord.
More Also, Jesus declared that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20: 35). We give because we appreciate God and all that He through Christ has done for us. We give by love. Tithes are seeds. This is the way you must see it. Your tithe is a special type of seed. It is different from other kinds of seed, which we sow. It is different from you offering. The greatest proof of your love for the lord is your seeds sown to advance or foster His cause on earth. Gifts, offerings, tithes and seeds, are a part of our service unto the Lord.
    

The Meaning or Significance of The Tithe:
(It Represents All)
Majority of Church folks hardly understand the meaning or significance of the tithe. Whenever they hear the word tithe, they think about law. This is a misconception. Let me repeat it here again; Tithe does not belong to the law. It was only fixed into the law so that men under the law could benefit from it. God allowed it to be so, so that it would be a blessing to the people under the law. But tithe itself is beyond law. It's in the realm of Grace. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob tithed, yet they were never under the law. The law of Moses (the Old Covenant) was never given to men who lived before the Israelites were delivered from Egyptian bondage. It was given to Moses and the nation of Israel at mount Sinai (also known as Horeb). Moses declared authoritatively, when he said, 


"the Lord made not this covenant with our Fathers, but with us, who are all of us here alive this day." (Deut 5:1-3)

Consider this for a moment, why did Abraham give Melchizedek one tenth (i.e., ten percent) of the spoils of war, even when he was never under law. Why is it one tenth? Why not one twelfth? or one fifteenth? or one twentieth? What is so special about one tenth that God had to accept it. The meaning and significance is in the name itself. We know that literally the word tithe means "a tenth part". You see God does not do things just because of their literal meaning. There must always be a underlying significance for everything He does. For instance all those animal sacrifices under the Old Covenant signified the sacrificial death of Christ on account of the sins of the world. We need not repeat them anymore because they've all been fulfilled in Christ's one and for all-time sacrifice. Tithe has a meaning or significance which relates to Christ before, during and after the law of Moses. 
The expression "one tenth" (i.e., 1/10) has a great meaning. First of all you must understand that one tenth is a ratio (1:10). It is not a specific amount as most people think. It is a sharing ratio of spiritual significance. If you must give your tithe, you cannot give below this fraction, otherwise its significance would be lost, and it will no longer be tithe.
Some people say that you can give God any amount you like for you tithe. They argue that tithe mustn't be 10% anymore, because we are now under the New Covenant. This is not true. Of course if it has to do with your offerings or any other seed you wish to sow into the kingdom of God, yo can give whatever you like. Those ones are personal to you. You are the one that decide those other forms of contributions on your own (see 2 Cor 9:7, 1 Cor 16: 1,2). But this idea is not true when it comes to your tithe. Your tithe is not anything you like to give on your own. The name itself which means 10% (1 out of 10) lets you know that it is not just any percentage that you like on your own. It is not just any amount you like to give to God out of your income or increase. It has to be as the word of God describes it. otherwise it is no longer tithe. The Bible says tithe is one tenth of your increase. If it is not "one tenth", then it is not tithe, this is so because tithe is a specific fraction of your increase or income, it's not a specific amount. The amount may vary, as your income or increase varies, but the fraction is a constant, because it signifies a serious spiritual truth.
You see, that fraction 1/10th means something very significant, and those who don't understand what it means or the significance are the people telling you that it doesn't matter whether it is 1/10th or not. But it does matter when you understand its meaning and why God never forbids Christians from giving their tithes. 
You see, like I explained earlier, every physical thing in the word of God has a spiritual meaning. You see in the early Church period, there were various forms of contributions practiced in the Churches, and the tithe was one of them (we shall come to this in the next subheading). 
Now you remember that tithe is 1/10th of your increase. What does this 1/10th stand for or mean? This can be understood from the principle of 1 out of 10, found in James 2:10
We see this principle implied in the following statement; 


"Assuming we were under the law and broke just one commandment of the Ten Commandments, then we would have broken all the commandments."(emphasis are mine)


Thank God we are not under the law. Nevertheless, James is bringing out a very important principle that we need to understand. 
Here James is implying that 1 out of 10 (10%) stands for all. It's a spiritual principle of 1 out of 10 (10%) which represents all/ the whole. 
James is pointing out here a very important principle that 1 out of 10 represents all. 
So you see, your tithe represents the whole of what you have earned. When you give your tithe, in the sight of God or spiritually it means you have given the whole of what you have earned to Him. It is spiritually regarded as a way of submitting all your material earnings to God. Your tithe stands for the whole of your earnings. God doesn't want you to bring all your money literally, but you can bring all your money to Him by giving your tithe, because He regards your tithe as the whole of what you have earned. The man who gives God his tithe has given God all his earnings. 
The tithe represent the whole of what was due from man to God, as marking and recognising God's claim on the whole. Your tithe is the recognition that God owns everything you have earned at any given time. 

Continued in part three...


Pastor Prize Chukwuka

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