Tithing and legalism
May 18, 2010
A few days ago two good young men visited me in the house in the forest to talk about tithing. They had been practising tithing for many years, but now they had reached the conclusion that tithing was not a biblical principle. Tithing was no longer a practice they had to follow as believers who lived in the grace of the new covenant. The main reason for reaching this conclusion was their personal experience of a legalistic way tithing had been taught and practised. And of cause they had read some books saying that tithing no longer applied to Christians. We had a very good talk about tithing and generous giving, but we reached no common agreement on the biblical ground for the practise in new covenant communities today.
I am a strong believer in tithing since I am a child of Abraham, the first one who is mentioned to pay his tithe to the priest of the most high God. Even at the first mention of the house of God in the Bible we also find a wow to pay tithe of everything. The Bible says that the tithe belongs to God and it is ordained by God to teach us to fear him and to give him the first place in everything in our life. Jesus said that we should seek first the Kingdom of God and that we should give to God what belongs to God. A lot more could be said on this matter, but I leave that to a later occasion, now I like to turn to another important aspect.
I am a strong opponent to legalism. The entire Old Testament with the Law and the Prophets is resting upon two commandments only: To love God with all our heart and might, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Without love nothing will benefit us according to the teaching of the apostle Paul.
Tithing is voluntarily and not a law, a demand or something we are forced to do. Those who tithe biblically will do it on their own free will and in faith. Tithing and generous giving must be motivated by love and faith. All that is not of faith is sin! Without love and faith there can not be any proper biblical practise at all!
The tithe belongs to God. Beside tithing to God there is no limit or restriction in generous meet the needs of people around us!