I have decided to share my rocky path with the world. It’s been a year since I was set free from religious rules and introduced to Radical Grace and what that really means. Its been quite a ride……
I’ve been practicing how to share what the Lord has been teaching me. Its tough, however I am compelled to continue. It was recommended that I share the latest debate as a blog post.
Below is a rebuttal to an email I received about tithing and included scripture to “prove” why it’s still for today. Old testament was quoted as well as Jesus speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 23……..
The response is quite lengthy. I tried to edit as much as I could, however as my best friend pointed out, this subject is important and needs explaining. I did split it into 2 parts for this blog.
Here is part 1……..
You quoted me a scripture out of the old testament/old covenant (Malachi) to live by; and to defend it you say, “It also says in that chapter that God doesn’t change”.
Yes, God changes not-(ie- He is just, loving and kind and a generous Father who sent His son to pay the price for my freedom) however, His methods and ways on how He wants to get things done does change.
Example- In the old covenant, blessings were conditional to obedience to the law. All throughout the old testament it clearly references a clause- “IF you ______ then God will ____”. That was the set up/rules for that covenant. It also states that the Law is to be as a whole. If you fail in one part, you have failed in all.
It was to be followed completely…not partially. There was no pick and choose on the parts to follow.
If you are going to follow the “guideline” of tithing in order for God to rebuke the devourer…..then you must also follow all the other rules with conditions….and there are many. So better sharpen your knife cause you will have to slit the lamb’s throat to drain the blood and put it on the front door to keep sickness/death out of your house. And more….
Joshua 1:8- This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Does this mean that I have to meditate in it day and night and be sure to be obedient according to all that is written or I won’t be prosperous and successful? If that is true, how come I see some that don’t follow all the rules and still prosper and others (like mom) who do follow all the rules and are not prospering…..
What about Leviticus and the plethora of commands to keep or else risk a curse….
Keep the Sabbath, the Feast of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, if one believes they must obey to give their firstfruits, then one should probably also keep the Feast of FirstFruits…..as you can see, it goes on and on.
In my mind, there must be consistency. If one is going to follow a statement from Malachi, (even stating that you don’t think it’s a law, but a heart thing, it’s still from the old covenant) then they must also be consistent and follow all the other teachings from the old covenant that come with conditions to a blessing/protection….like the scriptures above.
In regards to Jesus speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 23, He was speaking their language which was the law….
I have discovered that most of the believers in America don’t understand the New Testament. They believe that whatever Jesus said we are to follow as if it’s for today. Well once you understand who He was talking to and why– (what He was seeking to accomplish), then the New Testament makes way more sense.
Jesus’ time on earth was to bring the law back to its pristine/holy place and give a message of hope for what was coming- a better way than the bloody sheep and goat throat slitting. He talked about the law to the religious, cause the Pharisees had watered it down to the point they actually BELIEVED they kept the law! Jesus began to point out just how delusional they were. Thus, His statements;
“The law says you shall not commit adultery, but I say that if you even look at a women and lust after her, you have already committed adultery in your heart”
Well, these sort of statements angered the religious, cause who among them had not done that?? Jesus was poking holes in their facade. Fakers, pretenders, white washed tombs. Yea, of course they hated Him; he was exposing them! The jig was up along with their power to control.
When Jesus was talking to them in Mathew 23:23,
23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
This example of woe was warning them as it exposed the gross hypocrisy they were living in….they were so careful to tithe down to the smallest seed…..and yet the weightier matters of the law were left undone. . . He finishes by saying “you should tithe but don’t forget the rest”.
Yes, the law was still in effect because Jesus hadn’t fulfilled the old covenant yet, there was more to be done before putting that covenant and it’s requirements away. He spoke about the New that was on the way…but many didn’t understand what He was talking about.
Jesus time on earth revealed that no one can keep the law, not even the teachers of the law. And worst, not only were they themselves not keeping the holy laws, they prevented others from getting in.
13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
The gentiles and other “lesser people” were convinced that these rulers, leaders and teachers of the Law were really holy and ubber special; as if they actually lived up to the impossible standards of God’s laws. They sure seemed like they did…..
Well, that was total crap. It angered Jesus to see the manipulative control the leaders had that burdened the people. There was no love or mercy or equal treatment. So He exposed them……look at how Jesus talked to them. He called them snakes and said
“You don’t know Me or my Father, cause your daddy is the devil!”
Yikes!! Jesus knew they would become enraged at this accusation because these teachers prided themselves as having a “special” relationship to God, above all others.
I believe Jesus did this on purpose, so the people could SEE the explosive rage and ugliness coming from these seemingly “holy” leaders and teachers.
The new covenant couldn’t actually begin until Jesus died. It says that Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law/old covenant, so that it was done/finished….and could be put away forever.
The last part to be fulfilled was on the cross with the sour wine (prophesied in psalms 69:21). After Jesus accepted the sour wine (vinegar) He said “It is finished”.
John 28-After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. 29Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.
What was finished? We’ve never been taught exactly what that meant. It meant that the old covenant was fulfilled and finally finished…over. A new dawn in human history has now begun.
This didn’t take place in the New Testament until Acts- everything before that is still about the law and how to do things according to the law. I think it was written and included for us to see how hard things were; hopefully so we would appreciate the new (and better) covenant and not repeat history. How unfortunate, cause we did exactly that. Our leaders have taught us a mixture of old and new. Yes, get saved with grace, but then live with the laws of God to be holy & carry all the other heavy burdens/obligations that obedience demands.
If the tithe is really a foundational issue and the path to God’s blessings and protection from the devil….why did Jesus have to come and die??
His death on the cross stripped the devil of all his weapons and authority. The only “power” the devourer now has is deception and thievery.
Col 2:15 “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it”
Jesus stripped the devil of all authority and his “weapons” . What was his weapons? The LAW and its requirements
If my obedience to tithe triggers God to rebuke the devourer, one must conclude the devil still has authority to devour and unless God rebukes him….my stuff is gonna get eaten up.
This is a direct contradiction to scripture regarding what Jesus paid for and restored back to His children. He gave US all authority on earth.
Now, either we have the authority OR we need to tithe to trigger God to do it for us……it can NOT be both.
And why does Paul not mention anything about the tithe rule at all…ever?? Why is there no reference to it anywhere in his writings? Paul and all the other disciples talk about giving…..and commend the churches on their generous gifts…. and I am all for giving. If tithing was such a pivotal part of the Christian foundation, surely Paul would have taught on it or at least mentioned it.
It just seems to me that the law of the tithe has been thrown into the new covenant along with a lot of other “rules” and presented as a part of my “responsibility” as a Christian. Well, I am learning the only part I have is to believe that Jesus did it all…..there is no part He left for me to do. I am blessed and under God’s protection because of who I am, not what I do/ or don’t do. I give, because I am thankful for all the blessings in my life and I want to share. My Father is a giver, so naturally I will be like my Father.
However, when someone implies I am obligated to give a certain percent- or else I don’t get God’s rebuke to the devil….to me that is like extortion; sorta like the mafia. I don’t do well with “or else” sort of deals. It angers me to be threatened and I will rebel.
This sort of deal/arrangement doesn’t match anything I’ve been learning about Radical Grace. It just smacks of old, worn out religious training from well meaning teachers, preachers, etc….. as well as man’s carnal desire to DO rather than rest and just BE. It’s hard on mans ego to not take credit for his/her success.
End of part 1
Tomorrow I will post the 2nd part. It views tithing and how that looks in a Father/daughter relationship.