Christ redeemed us from living by the law
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:10-14 NIV)
Tithing is the law. It comes from the Old Testament and, as all laws do, binds us to obligation and increases sinning. For when we know the law and bind ourselves to it, we sin when we do not religiously obey it. But when we live by the spirit we do what the law requires and more.
Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:31 NIV)
Do not make an oath
34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:34-37 NIV)
When you make an oath - e.g. I swear to tithe - even just to yourself, then you are potentially bringing a curse on yourself.
Consider this scenario:
A man swears to himself and God that he will be faithful to bring a tithe every Sunday. However, one week his family are in a car accident and he must pay large hospital fees. This means that this week he cannot tithe. So he swears that he will repay what he did not bring by making it up the next week. Of course, his finances don’t fully allow for this and he is left short again. The trend of swearing to repay and falling short continues until he finds that his life is consumed with the debt he owes in tithes.
Now consider if it was not his families, but someones else’s that he helps out with a generous donation - not requiring them to repay it. Is this not giving to the Lord?
17 He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
And He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV)
But what if he does not consider it part of his tithe to God? Again, because of the oath he has made he is left short for his tithe and begins a trend of swearing to repay, etc.
Does our tithe only belong only to the church? Does God want a sacrifice only as it relates to church finances? Read Isaiah 1:11-17 if you want to know what sort of sacrifice God wants from us - he wants a sacrifice of love!
We need to be free to give without obligation under the law so our giving can be truly from our hearts as lead by the spirit. If we do this we will give well beyond simply 10% or even 20%. Currently our giving is closer to 80-90% of our income - and no we are not millionaires, it is by faith alone.
Bear fruit for god
So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:4-6 NIV)
Walk by the spirit
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18 NIV)
When we live by the spirit we act out of love - not obligation.
Story of Our Faith in Giving
Recently we were involved in a crusade in Nakuru (Kenya) and the team we were working with struck problems with their accommodation.
As we were a family (my children, my wife and myself), we decided to rent a house for the week. We negotiated a rate we could afford and settled in. We also gave the team leader, an American, a room in the house as we knew the accommodation supplied by the local church may not be very comfortable for him.
As it turned out, the accommodation supplied by the church for the team was unliveable - it was actually a local brothel: the floors were flooded with water and there was thick old on the walls and ceilings. Also, the team could not sleep with the noises at night (which I wont describe here) and they were woken up with loud banging on their doors at 6.30am telling them that ‘their time was up’.
The local pastor had no idea that his people had hired such a place and simply thought it was affordable accommodation for the team (or all that they could afford).
I spoke with my wife and we felt, as the house we had rented had a spare room and a large lounge that mattresses could be put down in, that we should talk the team into our house for the week. We knew it would cost a lot extra, and trusted God to cover the costs involved as they would be beyond our budget.
That week we ended up also providing some of the meals for the team and extra costs associated with them staying with us.
At the end of the week the church we were doing the crusade for, during their Sunday service - which we had attended, decided to take up a ‘Love Offering’ for us to help cover the extra costs. Both my wife and I knew God was going to bless us for the sacrifice we had made, and did not want His blessing to be taken away by accepting this small offering. So we thanked them for the offering and donated it back to the church to help them with their costs - as the crusade was a high cost excise for them.
The pastor was so touched by our faith, and the gift, that he openly cried while clinging to the pulpit. He needed consoling by his wife and leadership for some time before the service could resume (NOTE: an African man does NOT cry in public!).
The following day, as we expected, God blessed us with over half a million Kenyan Shillings - our initial costs were just over 50,000 Kenyan Shillings.
Trusting in God ONLY means we are living by the spirit.
In our lives we have no one to fall back on when we are in financial need: we have no donors covering our needs (we are self funded), no rich friends that would give us money for our own needs and no wealthy parents or family that could spare something if we were desperate. Our only fall back is God our Father.
Salvation, re-dedication, commitment to make God your only fallback