Tithing Under Grace

Two kings

Tithing has become the hot-button issue of our day. Just as the early church was divided on the issue of circumcision, the modern church is divided on the issue of tithing. “You should do it.” “You should not.”

In this three-part series we’ll look at the tithe and its place in the new covenant.

Abram’s tithe

Let’s begin with the story of the first tithe. As you read this story, don’t go looking for principles or moral lessons. Instead, go looking for Jesus. (Hint: he’s represented by one of the characters in this story.)

When Abram came back from his victory over Chedorlaomer and the other kings, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in Shaveh Valley (also called King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God, brought bread and wine to Abram, blessed him, and said, “May the Most High God, who made heaven and earth, bless Abram! May the Most High God, who gave you victory over your enemies, be praised!” And Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the loot he had recovered.

The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Keep the loot, but give me back all my people.” Abram answered, “I solemnly swear before the Lord, the Most High God, Maker of heaven and earth, that I will not keep anything of yours, not even a thread or a sandal strap. Then you can never say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’” (Gen 14:17-23, GNB)

This is a story of two kings. First, we have the King of Salem who represents Jesus. His name means king of righteousness and he is the prince of Salem which means peace.

Melchizedek-who-represents-Jesus shows up unexpectedly and does a most Jesusy thing: he serves communion. Remember, this was before Passover and the cross. Melchizedek appears, as out of thin air, with bread and wine and saying, “Let’s give praise and thanks to God.”

And why should we thank God? “Because, Abe, God has been good to you! He gave you this extraordinary victory. One small clan against four professional armies. Do you really think you won on your own?”

Abram could have replied, “My goodness, you’re right. We should’ve been slaughtered. Surely God was with us!” The lights go on and Abram has an encounter with grace. What does he do next? He gives God’s man a tenth of all the loot, thus treating him as a partner in his endeavor.

Now for the second king. The king of Sodom speaks a generous line – “keep the loot” – yet Abram refuses his gesture. “I want nothing from you. Not even a sandal strap.” A minute ago Abram was gushy and grateful; now he’s proud and hard. “I don’t want anyone saying you helped me.”

Clearly something has changed.

The two kings

If Melchizedek represents Jesus, the king of Sodom represents self. (Remember, Abram would not have gone to war except his nephew Lot found Sodom pleasing to the eye. Lot walked by sight, trusted his own judgment, and the result was a disaster.)

There are some neat contrasts between these two kings: Melchizedek promotes trust in God; Sodom inspires self-trust. Melchizedek is the king of righteousness; Sodom is self-righteous. Melchizedek gives grace; Sodom gives law. Melchizedek asks for nothing; Sodom says “give me.”

What do we learn from this?

If you are thinking, “God gives us grace so we can tithe,” you’ve missed Melchizedek and found Sodom. Like Lot, you’re relying on your own understanding to draw a moral lesson that is not there.

Melchizedek does not appear in the story for the purpose of extracting money from Abram. He shows up to draw attention to God’s goodness. “God gave you…” And if Melchizedek showed up unexpectedly in your story, he would say the same thing. “You are blessed because God has given you …” This is grace, and when you see it you will respond with generosity because grace begets grace. It happens effortlessly.

Melchizedek 2.0

A similar thing happened when Jesus had dinner with Zacchaeus. Like Melchizedek, Jesus showed up unexpectedly bringing the favor of God to a man who did not deserve it, and the result was generosity.

Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. (Luke 19:8)

No one told Zac to give half his stuff away. It was a spontaneous and joyful act made in response to grace. When you meet the Giver of all good things, it makes you want to give.

A personal example: The other night I was driving home alone and talking to Jesus when suddenly I felt his presence with me in the car. It was so wonderful. Do you know what the first thought that came to my mind was? “I want to buy Christmas presents for my kids.” In June! This was a crazy idea yet I couldn’t wait to do it. We dressed up, had a full-on party, and it was fun.

Do you see the difference between law and grace? The law demands generosity and kills it. “You’re not getting a sandal strap!” But grace boasts of God’s goodness and asks for nothing, and the fruit is crazy generosity.

Melchizedek vs Sodom

Tithing under grace?

So is there such a thing as giving a tithe under grace? The answer has to be yes, because Abram did it. But the answer can also be no, because it didn’t happen anywhere else in scripture. It was a one-off, spur of the moment decision made in response to grace. Just because he did it doesn’t mean you should.

So what’s the takeaway?

When we imagine God speaking to us with the words of Sodom – “Give me” – we put ourselves under law. We’ll either give out of self-righteous pride, or we’ll bristle like Abram. “Not even a sandal strap!”

But when we hear Jesus speaking to us with the words of Melchizedek – “You are blessed by God Most High and he has given to you!” – we will give because grace begets grace. A generous Father has generous children. It’s in our DNA.

What should you give? There is nothing you should give but plenty you could give. You may give a tithe or a mite or half your possessions. There are no rules. You are free to give anything you like in any way you like.

You may even give Christmas presents to children in June.

___________

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122 Comments on Tithing Under Grace

  1. Jeremy Woods // July 15, 2016 at 12:27 am // Reply

    Shouldn’t the title be better titled as ”Giving under grace”? There is no command to tithe in the NT..Paul never teaches it…Giving yes…but i think there is a difference between giving and tithing

    • A tithe is simply a tenth, which is what Abram gave. He could have given a nineth or an eleventh but he chose a tithe. You are right in saying there are no commands to give a tithe in the NT, but there are plenty in the church.

      • Hi Paul, it seems to me that tithing already existed before the law and that levi payed them in Abraham. It looks to me that God acknowledges in the letter of Hebrews 7:9 that the tithes that Abraham payed was not just a gift but a tithe that existed before the law. We are children of Abraham and could follow his example in paying tithes…
        Hebr 7:9, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.(before the law)
        What do you think?

      • Many things existed before the law – tithing, circumcision, animal sacrifices. Those things, including tithing, served as shadows of new covenant realities. As always, Jesus is the Reality.

  2. I’m dead, seated with Christ in Heavenly Places. All I possess in earthly goods is HIS. I own nothing but to love. Love always gives! Let every man give as he purposes in his heart. There is no law to give, but giving blesses others as God blesses us and others. Mimic God.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 7, 2018 at 3:21 am // Reply

      Though many things existed before the law including tithe we still cannot trump Malachi that enjoined the tithe.I would not assume that all things in the Old Testament and even before that dispensation are equal though they existed before the law. Some things by nature may be dispensed. Some other things are by nature, and for different practical reasons indispensable.

      For example, it is no longer necessary for the Jews and people in general to kill sheep and goats as a symbol for the remission of our sin. This makes practical sense because Jesus died for us once and for all. However, His sacrifice does not negate everything. For example, the law of God as reported in Exodus 20 is a transcript of God’s character. It will exist as long as God exists, which is forever. It is the standard that teaches us what sin is, that sin is the transgression of the law of God.

      Paul teaches us that we shoud not continue to sin just because grace exists in our favor.

      Similarly, the tithe as reported by Malachi is also one of those things which are still valid. It is an act born out of love and obedience to God. It is a result of salvation, not a means to obtain salvation.

  3. Outstanding word bro. I don’t see tithing under grace but I do see generosity. Some ministers can get real adamant about that ten percent. Then it is no longer about Grace but give what you owe us, we have a new building fund, or a airplane fund, or a this or that fund. It seems to get turned around into some business venture that demands investors to comply.

    • Thanks John. I realize that others read the word tithe as a law but I simply mean tenth, as in Abram gave a tenth on one occasion. What a mountain of religiosity has been built atop this one-off act of generosity.

      • France Courchesne // July 19, 2016 at 1:03 am //

        Thank you! Thank you for this article! It has cleared up a lot of questions I’ve had about tithing! Religious traditions have made the word of God of none effect.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 13, 2017 at 4:26 pm // Reply

      Yes, but we do not look at what juman ministers are saying or are doing. We look to the great higj priest, Jesus Christ. We have already passed from death to life, have already passed the erroneous notion of salvation by works. Now we are dealing in the virtuous enjoyment of good works, as described in Ephesians 2:10.

      Brothers and sisters in Christ, we do not need to fight tithing or try to water it down to a mere act of giving if you feel like giving. No. It is not so. Tithing is based on systematic benevolence, meaning that we OBEY the law of LOVE to remit a tenth of our increase in wealth per whatever system of measurement. It is a loving command. It takes obedience to make a difference between a superor and an inferior. God is our superior. He transcends all of His creation. Even though He calls us His friends, He does so on the basis of our obedience to Him. Obedience comes from love, not from legalism. How would you feel if your wife cooks and makes the house neat.just once in a while, rather than systematically? And I don’t mean for her to do all the work. I mean, with I, with you, also involved as husband. What does the book if Malachi say regarding tithing? I would not wish to resist the word of God there…

  4. Thank you Paul for helping understand this

  5. Woow awesome. Please clarify for me Malachi 3:8, if I happen not to tithe on a certain month,does that mean I have robbed God, His hedge of protection removed from my finances and won’t get the blessings promised to the Tither?
    Thank you

    • You are not blessed because you tithe nor are you cursed if you don’t tithe. Under grace, every blessing comes to us on Jesus’ account alone. Do not Sodomize the scriptures or put yourself under law by thinking God’s favor is conditional on your giving performance. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). EVERY blessing is paid for by Jesus. I’ll talk more about Malachi 3:8 in Part 3.

      • Good news, I felt guilty when I did not pay tithe, and felt in good standing with God when I did. Thank you very much for this revelation, that I give freely not out of obligation. thank you Paul

      • Laurence Brill // July 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm //

        “Do not Sodomize the scriptures or put yourself under law by thinking God’s favor is conditional on your giving performance.” Paul, that comment alone is one of the most powerful comments I’ve ever heard about what religion does to grace… thanks mate, you’re a legend, stay humble 🙂

      • “Do not Sodomize the scriptures or put yourself under law by thinking God’s favor is conditional on your giving performance.”

        have to agree with Laurence that that comment alone is a keeper. Looking forward to your take on Malachi 3:8. I commented on my take on that in my comment on part 2.

  6. Sanish J Thottan // July 15, 2016 at 1:04 am // Reply

    clearly understood some key points like grace begets grace we don’t need to give out of obligation. we don’t need to make tithing a system in the NEW

    great short message

  7. Great piece, thanks for posting it, Paul.

    Just as the early church was divided on the issue of [whatever], the modern church is divided on the issue of [whatever else]. “You should do it.” “You should not.”

    To me, all this ‘should/should not’ just reveals the base issue of legalism. Firstly, what I give/give not, or do/do not, has nothing do do with anyone else unless it hurts/damages them directly. Secondly, as I know most readers on here will know, ‘it was for freedom that Christ has set us free’. Free to choose according to our own conscience rather than being dictated to.

    And finally, if a believer gives way to others’ demands in one area, it’s a slippery slope to giving in in others too. Consider one another, be kind to one another, do not lead each other astray….these are the ‘commandments’ that are enacted naturally by someone living life in the Spirit!

  8. Jesus is my tithes. I give.

  9. a very encouraging message…even in the area of giving, it will always be about Jesus…we give based on our personal encounter with Him which will always be grace amazing 🙂

  10. Peter Hall // July 15, 2016 at 1:37 am // Reply

    A sound balanced view.

    In the Old Covenant, tithing proved God’s heart. in the New Covenant, tithing proves my heart.

    Tithing is only an issue in the church because the church has an issue of the heart.

    Grace exposes the heart.

  11. Billy Warren // July 15, 2016 at 1:41 am // Reply

    It comes down to one point…The new covenant is based on Christ fulfilling the law on our behalf, we are no longer under LAW, we are under grace….No question tithing is in the law and Christ has fulfilled it and we are not under it…

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 11, 2018 at 11:09 am // Reply

      It depends on what you mean by we are not under the law. If you mean that we are not saved by the law, then you are speaking Bible. If you mean that the Ten Commandments or decalogue is now irrelevant after Christ died for us, then that is absolutely wrong…

      • I hate to cut a long comment that you put a lot of thought into, but I am obliged to respect E2R’s policy of submitting only short comments (a few sentences) that relate to the topic under discussion (tithing, in this case). A comment such as this would be better placed under one of the many law articles on this site. Thanks for understanding.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 13, 2018 at 3:18 am // Reply

      Mr. Billy Warren:

      Christ is the propitiation for our sin. He did for us what we could not do, due to Adam’s failure. That He is our go-between means that He fulfills the requirment of God on our behalf. That, for us is justification. We are made righteous before God on Christ’s account.

      Sanctification is another thin–the work of a life time. It means that through the power of God by the indwelling Christ in us, we are to live a life of victory, power, obedience—showing the effectiveness of God’s saving grace. That is, with Christ in us the hope of glory.

      We are not doing works to be saved. We are working because we have been saved. Jesus died for our sin. And He expects that we allow Him to live out His life of power and grace in us.

      Consider the universality and comprehensiveness of God’s question regarding the tithe: “Will a man rob God?” It does not say, Will an Old Testanent Jew rob God? This all inclusive indication embraces a question regarding mankind in general, begining with the ones in the past, but not limited to mankind in the present and in the future. Man is man. We are all sinners to be saved by grace, and also, to practice obedience by that same grace.

  12. Thanx Paul it gives a clear view of grace true grace giving without obligation

  13. Joe A.Serge // July 15, 2016 at 1:55 am // Reply

    As you clearly teach by the end of the blog, any obligation to tithe is legalism. Tithing is not a Christian duty. Believers willingly and gladly financially support ministry work in thanksgiving for the salvation they gained thanks to Christ’s shed blood on Calvary’s hill. I give at Sunday worship because I want to tell the world about Jesus – and God’s wondrous grace. . .

  14. I don’t think I fully grasped grace until I let go of my beliefs on tithing. If Jesus is my everything, He is also my tithe. When there is no grace moving hearts to give, strict rules on giving are needed to keep the lights on. And that’s being nice because many pastors are living extravagantly while they burden the congregation with endless demands for money. You are told you must have faith, but where is the pastor’s faith to believe God for the funds needed? There is no faith in placing a burden on people and demanding what they must give. Jesus is the tithe.

  15. This is a very interesting interpretation. I have never seen Abram’s reaction to Sodom as his fleshly reaction! I have been wondering though. Did Abram end up giving all Kind Sodom’s loots back to him, since he said he wanted nothing from him?

    • Yes he did. Out of grace Abram gave 10%; but out of carnal pride he gave 100%. Those who say giving reveals the heart will have fun with that one. 🙂

      • Hansel Tj // July 15, 2016 at 7:41 am //

        But then, Abram also said, “…Then you can never say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’” Why does this part not sound like carnal pride? Instead, it sounds more like an act of wisdom. Abram wanted to make sure that nobody could claim they had made Abram rich. He wanted to make sure only GOD’s name was glorified. Is this an accurate interpretation?

      • I suppose you could read it like that, but to my mind Abram simply didn’t want the king of Sodom taking credit for Abram’s victory: “I’ll take nothing from you, not so much as a thread or a shoestring. I’m not going to have you go around saying, ‘I made Abram rich'” (MSG). That sounds more prideful than worshipful to me.

      • Thanks for tackling this subject.
        It seems to me that leadership saying “giving reveals the heart” is just a another way of making “tithing” a new teatiment law.

        The freedom to be generous is a wonderful gift; but once you try to quantify or measure it, “If you love God you’ll tithe” (nt) doesn’t sound any different than “if you tithe, you love God” (Ot), it becomes law.

        Making a plan to change your life so you can give more, if possible, is wonderful and highly recommended, but using it to measure your heart creates a wrong motive.

        Telling a single mom, living in poverty, who loves God and her children that tithing is a measurement of her heart is just plain wrong.

        Jimmi

      • That line can be very manipulative, like a wife telling her husband, “If you loved me you’d do A, B, and C.”

      • himanshi // July 16, 2016 at 6:58 pm //

        I don’t get this. His words to the king of Sodom are that of pride,no doubt. But in what way is he wrong? Of course the king cannot get undue credit. And what should have been Abram’s reaction to the king’s words?

  16. I agree and when they use Malachi 3? “Robbing God scripture; it was God saying that towards the “Pastors” ie priests of that day and not the common church going people….

    • In case anyone’s wondering, I will look at Malachi 3 in Part 3 of this short series.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // December 11, 2016 at 1:40 pm // Reply

      But it says, “This whole nation” has robbed God. You can read it again, in Malachi 3: 8-10. If you see something different, please do not forget to brief me on it. I may have misunderstood something I did not bring into account, unwittingly, of course.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 12, 2018 at 6:03 pm // Reply

      Does it not say, “Even this whole nation” has robbed M? If the priests were the only ones robbing God, why are people other than the priests of today, robbing God? Do you know why?

      I feel the need to focus on personal behavior towards God, right now.

      Please show me where it indicates that only the priests were robbing God, in those days.Thank you kindly.

  17. Richmond Ogbonna // July 15, 2016 at 3:14 am // Reply

    What about first fruit. Paul, I shall meet you face to face someday and tell you how far you have been my mentor from nigeria and how I have been distributing the gospel grace radically like paul did. I love you!! Am writing a book now, “One Thing You LackL

  18. Terri Simon // July 15, 2016 at 4:57 am // Reply

    Love it! Thank you! The Spirit that lives inside of us, is our guide!

  19. wow very beautiful ,with our Jesus everyday is Christmas

  20. Eric Schlebus // July 15, 2016 at 6:05 am // Reply

    Great article. Bertie Brits new book “Jesus is the Tithe” goes into excellent depth on this controversial subject.

  21. Abram gave 10% from the *spoils* of war. IMHO, he gave 10% of the spoils of war out of obligation (i.e. custom Arab war code), and he had the right to keep the 90% of the spoils, historically speaking. But for the other points, I couldn’t agree more… grace begets grace.

    • Interesting. Keep in mind that Arabs weren’t around yet and there is nothing in the scriptures to suggest he obligated to give this king anything.

      • Before the spread of Islam, Arab referred to any of the largely nomadic ancient Semitic-speaking peoples inhabiting the northern and central Arabian Peninsula. (Wikipedia)

  22. Holly Meadows // July 15, 2016 at 8:26 am // Reply

    Perfect! Thank you.
    I struggled with this for such a long time and it zapped my joy and made me feel like a failure or made me feel smug and superior. It was required if you wanted to maintain a right relationship with God and good standing with others especially the leadership in the church we attended, or so we were instructed. I finally got real with the Holy Spirit, and I believe He spoke to my heart that I didn’t have to give, but it was my right to give as His child. As I read your books that has taken on an even richer meaning. I’m so confident and free now understanding it is simply Jesus who perfects and completes me. It’s the best news ever. Now I’m really enjoying my freedom. I’m learning to allow His joy to fill every aspect of my ordinary day. It’s the best life when He is your Life!
    I often notice honesty and courage accompany real faith in Jesus. Those qualities are obvious in the way you clarify the Good News for us. Thanks again! I look forward to more.

  23. Patrick Neff // July 15, 2016 at 11:39 am // Reply

    Tithing, in the old testament sense was never “giving”. It was more similar to what would be a tax in modern culture. Giving is free whereas the tithe was mandatory under the law. It seems that this confusion of terms or concepts is very common and was even found in this article. Certainly one is free to “give” 10 percent of an amount but I think to call it a tithe only serves to confuse the two concepts. Certainly New Covenant believers are under no obligation to “pay” the Old Covenant law of tithing, which of course was never to be paid in cash anyway.

    Also, not sure that Abraham was “under grace” as the article states. His dispensation was before the covenants of the law and the covenant of grace. Circumcision was also in his time but is certainly not something we practice in any legal sense today.

    • There is nothing in the scriptures to suggest Abram’s gift was anything other than voluntary. Abram was most definitely the recipient of the Lord’s undeserved and super-abundant favor. Read the accounts of God blessing Abram and they all are all riffs on the theme of, “I will bless you” and “I will make you into a great nation” (eg: Gen 12:2-3). That’s great grace!

    • Yes, Patrick Neff – … and the Tithe (different taxes, all should be aware 10% is too over used as an example of ignorance at least & malice at worst) was also what may well be called providing for the dietary needs of those who had no way to earn a living – the Levitical Priesthood. Not the padding of the offices of man-made persons called leaders (Pastors, who not leaders but caretakers). A question to us all: Should not the leaders among us be the servants of all? Look for the one that freely serves & that is the leader__

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 12, 2018 at 6:33 pm // Reply

      Dispensation is nothing but time periods. What does a dispensation has to do with moral law? God’s moral law is good today as it was six thousand years ago. The law is, and was always a watch-dog against sin. Sin is sin, whether done today or six thousand years ago. Sin is the transgression of the law. A thousand years is as a day to God. Seek to know the will of God. What was done or not done within the confines of dispensations have had no effect on the constancy of the immutable moral law. What is right is right. But do you know what is right to do by God? Seek God for your education. He can also convict the human heart like no other. Forget about dispensations. Seek the ever living God of knowledge and truth.

      • You seem absorbed with getting people off the mark that is Jesus. You have gone from one commenter to the next trying to sell your view that happens to be contrary to the simplicity of the the gospel. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. That means not tithing, not obedience, and not an obsession with defending Old Testament doctrine. What is the way to a fulfilled life? What is the the true word? What is the life of life? The answer is actually Who – Jesus, Jesus, and Jesus.

      • momzilla76 // May 15, 2018 at 5:15 am //

        LPJ- I think that is the best conclusion to this whole long drawn out disagreement. Jesus is the focus and the answer. Just follow Jesus including his teachings on the tithe. 😉

  24. Thats awesome, we give out of revelation that God has first given to us.Its our proper response to what Jesus did at the cross (giving us His body and blood; bread and wine), respond with a cheerful heart. Thanks Paul

  25. What a straight forward beautiful message. Thank you Paul. May God surely bless you and your family!

  26. Nathan Dalton // July 15, 2016 at 8:43 pm // Reply

    A heart that is blessed can’t but help be a blessing to others through generosity. We are made in the image of God and He is the giver of life and His own Son… so made in His image we are made to be a generous people showing the love of God. As for the Abe example, most translations note his decision as a past tense determination that he would not keep any spoils(ie:he had pre determined this as a choice). Its not a pride issue but rather a motive issue. His motive was not to make money out of saving Lot but simply safe Lot cause he loved him. He did not tithe of his personal net wealth or annual earnings to Melchizedek… he gave from the spoils of a once off war. This is the context i believe. However for the issue of generosity… tithe and more than a tithe is a beautiful thing of an overflow of life, even the widow gave from little. Not under obligation but under an open heaven of joy knowing who we are in God. There is also a principle of giving just like gravity… sowing and reaping, what goes up must come down etc. Its always a great topic that reveals the hearts of many lol.

  27. But isn’t it kind of like the Spiritual Law of Reciprocity. Because you’re blessed you want to bless others.

  28. Terry Benischek // July 16, 2016 at 2:21 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul for a real explanation of the “tithe” I, like several other posters, believe that the word tithe should be removed from any NT explanation of giving. It is not one and the same and causes confusion. Tithing is not for NT believers, if it were, the Apostle Paul would have been all over the people to whom he preached explaining it. Paul preached to the gentiles and they had zero knowledge of the tithe tax that the Jews practiced. Surely he would not have neglected a topic that the many churches today views as such a vital part of our relationship with God. Generosity is the manifestation of Grace in our lives and preachers should be preaching about Grace instead of ensuring that they are “paid” the tithe tax to keep themselves afloat by stoking fear in the hearts of their congregants. I have always believed that the tithe (the word and principle, not NT generous giving) was dead to NT believers, when Malachi was written because the devourer is rebuked in the believers’ life through the Finished Work at the Cross not paying a tax. Thanks for always insightful, spirit born revelations on Grace. Bless you and your family.

    • Thanks Terry. You are right, tithe is a loaded word. Like repentance and confession, it means different things to different people. Nor does it help that it’s both a noun and a verb. Abram gave a tithe but tithing was not his habit. If we adopted a strictly Biblical interpretation of tithing we would see that it was uniquely connected to the law-keeping covenant and is never mentioned in the new.

  29. Thanks for this Paul. You are right, of course, that his issue is really a hot button in the grace community.

    While I understand now, after coming to the knowledge of the finished work, that tithing is not a New Covenant command, nor are we “blessed if we do, and under a curse if we don’t”, what are your thoughts on “sowing and reaping”?

    In finished work theology, does “giving more…and receiving back more” …still stand?

    • I’ve been a cold-hearted investor from my days teaching at business school. If something is sold to me as an investment opportunity, I like to have a clear idea of the return on investment. Sadly, giving opportunities in church circles are often presented as an investment with vague and immeasurable indications of the expected return. Since it is really begging wrapped in religious jargon, it turns me off. I’d rather give money to poor kids – give them food, an education, and they’re likely to turn into healthy and productive adults. That’s a good return. I am certainly not against giving to churches or ministries – I am for it! But there’s giving without expecting a return and there’s sowing to reap. If you ask me to sow (instead of give), I like to know what I’m going to reap. Doesn’t everyone?

  30. Very original take on the King of Sodom. I had never looked at the passage in that way before. Thanks for taking the time to research and write all these posts, maintain this website, and diagram the accompanying charts–they really help with visualizing concepts! Since I am a university student, I understand how hard you work. May God bless you and your family.

  31. the assumptions in the article were a slanted opinion with lots of personal biased conclusions. saying the there is a tithe under grace is pure rubbish.

    worthless notions and a doctrine of devils.

  32. Berris-Dale Joseph // July 16, 2016 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    Please, Sir, continue to study and share the gospel.I think that it is beautiful the way you show that grace is superior to demand, force, coercion. Man is the one that corrupts the sweetness of grace with disgrace, ehivh is the thing that dishonors the God of grace. Grace does all the hard work and heavy lifting. It does the greatest work with grace and ease because the heart, from which flows the issues of life, has had an encounter with the heart of God, which constantly pulsates with perfect love. Love is enabling; love is understanding; love is wisdom; love is good; love is powerful; love is transforming, and love is righteous, meaning it makes us right—right in thought; right in motive; right in action. If we truly have experienced this love of God, we would not only do right, but we would want to do right; we would desire to do right. With love we can work much better, much smoothly than we can work with coercion or obligation. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love. And verse 23 tells us that against LOVE there is no LAW. For love is the law. Out of love comes the rightness of law, not the wrongness of law. If we understand this beautiful principle of LOVE, then happy are we. Happy indeed, not fake happy. Thanks for letting me share
    Berris

  33. Steve Courchesne // July 17, 2016 at 3:08 am // Reply

    Where did Abraham come up with giving a 10th? where does that originate if he is the first and only mention of tithing? God gave the victory and provided the spoil, not Abraham. He was giving something that prior to the battles fought he did not even possess. Where does that come from in the lives of those who struggle from paycheck to paycheck just to keep food on the table, Just inquiring from real life experience. Yes,i have had God provide on many occasions but it has always gone to clearing debt. Very curious about this. We have raised 6 children over 28 years so Mom has always stayed at home. Single income family, still have 4 at home.

  34. Berris-Dale Joseph // July 17, 2016 at 6:47 pm // Reply

    Let us bear in mind that if we believe that grace prompts, and enables us to do good works, then good works we will do. If we find ourselves fighting any good work that has already been approved by God, according to Ephesians 2′:8-10, then I might say that we are not in cooperation with the Spirit of God, Who is the agency that guides us into truth and righteousness. We are the recipients of grace, not the authors of grace. In order to obey God, through the Spirit it seems necessary for us to be in a submissive mode, to the Spirit. The Spirit of God needs to find us in the disposition of agreement with what the Spirit influences us to be, and hence, to do. If Christianity means followers of Christ, then we will do what Christ would do. We do not just lazily receive the good things that God has done for us, i.e, His sacrifice of His Son on a cross, without being infected with the same spirit of grace and love , which have motivated God to so act on our behalf; but being truly born again, we would possess a similar spirit/motive to GIVE. Giving is the thing lovers do, based directly on the divine example of God’s giving us the gift of His only Son. I therefore, should have no “beef” with tithing. The book of Malachi tells us that it is possible to rob God in tithe and in offering. Even if Paul does not say anything on tithing, Paul is not greater than God. The Spirit of God leads us, also, to make good judgment. It is not about self-defense. It is about what pleases God, even as God studies what please us. He knows that His offering of His Son would please us, as we could not pay the penalty of our own sins, and still live. The song writer was rightly inspired with the words, “Lord, what can I impart when all is Thine before/ Thy love demands a thankful heart/ The gift, alas, how poor.” As a Christian, Am I thankful to God for His love, mercy, and grace? Shall we be lead by God’s Holy Spirit, or by our own? Remember, good works is always the result of God’s grace. It is never a product of dissatisfaction due to force or coercion. May we enjoy the fruit of the Spirit, LOVE.

  35. The king of S. represents Satan as he said, “Give me the souls/persons and take the goods to thyself.” Satan wants to be a king and one can’t be a king without subjects. He covets souls and he wanted Lot (veil) back too.He tried to trade like this in Jesus’ wilderness temptations too, material goods for Jesus to be his subject. Abram and Mel are typology for what Abba did in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Just as Nehemiah refused to allow Sanballat,Tobias and Gershon the Hittite to help build the temple (we are the temple of the living God) as he doesn’t want us built by mixture, Abba and Jesus refuse to allow Satan to “enrich” us. Verse 16 talks about both goods and people that were brought back and A gave M. tenth of ‘all’ (including people). This is Abba/Jesus paying a tithe into Abba/Jesus own bosom. You see this in the ten lepers – 9 went their way, 1 turned back to Jesus, worshipping, “no one can come to Me unless the Father draws him.” Abram’s name means ‘exalted father.’ M’s means ‘king of righteousness.’ I love the fact that God refuses to trade souls for goods. I like Abrams rebuke, “possessor of heaven and earth.” What right has S. to act like he owns the goods anyway? By the rules of warfare he had lost ownership and Abram possessed all. Rightly so, he refuses to take anything from S. as that would validate S’s pretense at ownership.

  36. Can someone define self-trust? And also initiative? if all I need to is sit as a king heal and deliver that’s awesome. But i think you’ve answered the question as, “follow Christ”. which is good. but when Brian Zandh follows Christs. and Chuck Norris follows Christ. are they following the same Christ? I’m prone to relax with God. no hurry.

    • Read the post Questions Ain’t Questions. yes that helps. beauty indeed saves the world, we are too keen overcome but sometimes we announce our victory before we’ve handed the whole thing over to jesus. knowing who jesus is now. I feel much better about the Work.

  37. Its good u have shared your insights..

  38. What are your thoughts on Matthew 23:23? It seems that Jesus is reprimanding the Pharisees for tithing every little thing, yet neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness. Then he says those should be done (justice, mercy and faithfulness) without neglecting the others – “others” seeming to mean tithing.

    • They were picking and choosing from the law, doing the easy bits, ignoring the hard bits. This is why he called them hypocrites. They preached a law they themselves did not keep. If they had done their job their proud mouths would’ve been silenced and they would’ve been ready for the grace Jesus reveals.

  39. Wow! Really love your approach to this hot topic. Thanks

  40. Berris-Dale Joseph // July 19, 2016 at 9:38 am // Reply

    Another point I wanted to make in addition to previous comments is that God’s love is a straight shot. What do I mean by this? I mean, just as, (as) the Bible tells us that God’s word will not return to Him void, so also God’s love sent from His Heart, will not return to Him void. Like His word, which bears the message of His love to us, so God’s love will accomplish its destined work. Here is an illustration I was thinking of: a pitched ball from a baseball pitcher to his opponent batsman. There have been countless strike out balls pitched by baseball pitchers. Once those particular balls left the hands of their pitchers, they stayed the course of their targeted destiny, to strike out their opponent batsmen. Was there at least one time that a striker ball made a detour from its pitched thrust, in mid air, so that it ended up someplace different than at the base, where the batsman stood to bat it? I don’t think so. No doubt, this has never happened. Those strike out balls left the hands of their pitchers with the aim and capabilities of striking out their opponent batsmen, on behalf of their pitchers’ team; and they did just that.
    God’s love is more perfect than a pitched baseball. It will definitely accomplish its powerful work of infecting our hearts with the sane love of the Father, by Whom it has been given to us. All we have to do is submit to God’s demonstrated and so powerfully appealing LOVE.
    Then let this love have its powerful way in our hearts and lives. Good works, that is, any and every good works will be its natural and supernatural effects upon our individual hearts.
    May we be blessed by the mighty grace of God.
    Berris

  41. Good perspective of living under new Covenant of grace

  42. Kenneth Blount // July 19, 2016 at 9:58 am // Reply

    I understand about grace,and I do believe that as living in this the last days, the body of Christ should be walking in all that JESUS did for mankind concerning the grace of GOD, and I understand there are many obstacles in the church today, however I see from many of the responses to this article, that the we’s and they’s still need a lot of work to bestow the grace given us myself included, traditions of man being one of the obstacles, but even the more grace abounds, truly love needs to reign, for if we judge then we become as those that are judged.

  43. Thanks for the insight. I used to tithe but now I don’t. I have faced a lot of embarrassment for not practising tithing. What hurt me is a lot of churches have attached strings to tithing that if you don’t the church will not help you in your marriage ceremony etc. Records are kept and it’s been reviewed to see and know who pays and who don’t .
    Believers are embarrassed for not practising tithing in a church. They claim they are levite of today.

    Other preachers also say tithing is not compulsory but if you want to be bless you pay your tithe. How true is it?

    • It is a blessing to be able to give to others, but do not believe that God blesses you on account of your giving or sacrifices. God blesses you on account of Jesus and his sacrifice (Eph 1:3). Sadly, there are some churches that prostitute the love of God and use manipulative language to compel people to give. Have nothing to do with them.

      There is nothing wrong with a church or a minister charging a fee for performing services (eg: weddings, funerals), but there is nothing godly about naming and shaming non-tithers. In my city poor families borrow money from loan sharks in order to pay their churches and avoid being shamed in this way. It’s a disgrace.

      • Yikes! I get upset when I hear about people getting put into that kind of bondage. By the way, good advice. I agree.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // July 21, 2016 at 6:01 am //

        Yes, I agree, that love does not force or exact from anyone what that person does not have or even, does not want to give. The very Bible bears this out. Such bad attitudes, ideas, and practices of coercion lead people further away from the love of God. Their negative stigma also poisons the purity, and destroys the potential good quality of one’s attitude regarding other matters of life. I mean, it is a deceptive mode of operation that can harm people’s understanding of what is right from what is wrong, in other areas, besides tithing.
        One of those areas is relationships, for example. A spouse can demand love and services from his or her spouse which that spouse cannot deliver, at least, as of yet. But treated rightly with the ministry of grace, in the spirit of charitable justice, one can be more encouraged to surmount imposing difficulties and challenges.
        We are not encouraging people to be lazy or to be lax. But we are striving by grace to let the beautiful love of Jesus Christ, be seen in us. And when that happens, then the beautiful light of God’s love scatters the darkness, and shatters the chains of ignorance that breeds dissatisfaction, loneliness, sadness, and full blown hate.
        With a good, and yet, better understanding of God’s love, and its operation, let these hurting chains break.

  44. Paul Elis u re a blessed man and a New Testament preacher indeed. have been following u and receiving ur messages since last year but have not messaged u before till today. Have learnt so many things from u and am really really blessed. My name is pastor Sam Benson, Lives in Ghana-Africa. Wish to meet u and I know I will meet u one day and invite u to be a blessing to us in Ghana. Thank u so much for ur great teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. shalom.

  45. Could you explain hebrews 7 in the light of tithing please

      • peter kairezi // September 10, 2016 at 8:15 am //

        If grace make you fail to submit to tithing then its cheap grace. This is heretic from people who do not like the flesh and selfishness to be challenged. If the law is spiritual why is practising it sinful? Jesus says we show our love by obeying His commandments. Paul says by faith we establish the law. Release the grace in you and will not only joyfully tithe but give sacrificially to the needs of your church. If you refusr to walk in love you will be given over to delusions. Paul referred to commandments with a promise, couldn’t this be one of them. Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 11, 2018 at 6:06 am //

        Thanks Peter Kairezi, for pointing that out. The grace by which we are saved is a powerful grace, an enabling grace, not a weak grace. God gave Christ to be the propitiation for our sin, because our sinful nature disqualifies us to save ourselves. Mostly we accept that Christ died for us. True; but that is only one half of the great objective of God’s salvation plan. Thank God for taking care of that half.

        The other half is that by the indwelling Christ we are invited to PARTAKE of the divine nature of Christ, The Father, and The Holy Spirit. We should place a proper estimate on our potential relationship with our heavenly Father by thinking ourselves not paupers, but as redeemed, emancipated children, friends of God, who have been imparted with grace unto grace. That is to say that the initial grace that pardons us, also prepares us for citizenship in the kingdom of God, the kingdom of His Love. In this state of being we should at least, be acting more like the angels, who all delight to do the will of God. The freedom God now gives us is to make us sons and daughters of God by that new birth experience. Thus, we have the MIND of Christ with that new HEART God gives us. We act like citizens of heaven, much like the angels, delighting to do God’s will—not lowering ourselves as if paupers by thinking and acting inappropriately humble or proud—but being set free with heaven’s power at our disposal to “do all things through Christ which strengthens” us, by His powerful saving and kingdom-citizen-making GRACE.

        From the mountain of the Word, I see more clearly the horizon of God’s ideal for us? Are you seeing it?

  46. Berris-Dale Joseph // September 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm // Reply

    The proof is in the efficacy of God’s grace to inspire that same benevolent spirit that is inherent in pure grace. When all the garbage of misunderstanding have been cleared from the mind then nothing short of an appropriate response to grace will take place. But we are not spiritual robots either. We have intelligently conceived and experienced the meaning of God’s grace for what it basically is, to us individually; therefore, we can become positively aggressive in our positive reaction to the gift of grace. That is, we can choose to do good, including paying the tithe. We are also willing slaves of Christ. When good works are being done from this aspect, they are all a result of grace. That is what it should be. See, grace sets us free to be. It can only make us to be good. And this time around we can’t help to be nice, cooperative. We can’t help to help others, especially the cause of God. We must not forget to pray just because we have grace. For in righteousness we are being exhorted to pray without ceasing. Grace is like food. We can’t just look at it to benefit. We must eat it. The food of grace has been served us. The best thing to do is eat it. This food is still served us in the form of reminder in the word of God. We would be wise to read the Bible regularly. And when that powerful grace of God inspires us again, and again, we do good works. For the word, the grace of God is the good tree that bears its good fruits in our lives as we feast on God’s words. Besides, we are growing in love for God more and more. We are being lead by the Spirit to do good works.

    • I agree with much of what you said here. I definitely agree that God’s grace will inspire His same benevolent spirit in us. However, I also think you’re sneaking in a little law without realizing it. For example, if Jesus is my tithe, He is completely sufficient as my tithe. If I feel a need to tithe, I don’t really see Jesus as my tithe. Being one with Him would inspire generosity in me and that could mean I end up giving away more than a structured ten percent. My identity is “God’s son”. Generous is a characteristic of a son of God. If we were to fill in the blank of grace sets us free to be – I would fill it in with “children of God” rather than “a tither”.

      Another example would be praying without ceasing. This occurs as a natural result of being one with the Trinity. If I am abiding in Christ, I am praying without ceasing. I don’t necessarily have to spend the entire day speaking in tongues. 🙂 Blessings

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // September 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm //

        Grace and peace be multiplied unto you and to your house.

      • Wow, thank you, Berris-Dale Joseph. Same to you.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // September 12, 2016 at 10:23 am //

        My pleasure. You are welcome. Will dialogue sometime down the road. Blessings

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 4, 2018 at 7:40 am //

        I wanted to go gently due to apparent misunderstanding of tithing. But the truth of the matter is that tithing is a principle of love. It is a positive act of responding love. It has nothing to do with salvation by works. God does not expect one to give what one does not have. God looks on the heart, though. From there He judges the character of the giver. This includes His focus on the person’s honesty. This is all seen in the heart by the Eyes of God. No human eye can see the full reality of another person’s heart. Only God can do that. That being said, no one needs to make an excuse for not doing something that is required by honesty in the discharge of love. It is not just what I believe. It is also about true and perfect honesty. While we are not perfect in good works we can be perfectly honest. The tithe is indicated in the Bible as a response of love. It is not categorized as a means to obtain salvation. Just as God gave us His only Son, so we in the same spirit of love obey every word that proceed out of the mouth of God. And there is no reason for unremited love. We are admonished to owe no man anything but love. If this is true of our fellowmen, How much more are we indebted to God for His perfect love in providing us eternal salvation? God is not interested in debating with anyone about one’s personal belief. God is only interested in the honesty of the heart of everyone with respect to His initial love for that soul. Arguing about how I believe something is nothing of worth. Only my OBEDIENCE wrought by the love of God is of value.

      • Thanks for your thoughts on this, Berris-Dale Joseph. I would call a positive act of responding in love – generosity. Since my belief is that Jesus is the tithe, it follows that I believe if I were to tithe, it would be like saying Jesus was an insufficient tithe. Generosity, however, is a result of God’s love in our heart moving us to give. Some of my previous comments on tithing may be inconsistent with what I’m saying here because my beliefs on this have changed. Grace and Peace.

  47. At a megachurch we were attending in the recent past, (www.chapel.org), they sidestepped all arguments about tithing by dropping the phrase, “tithe” but asking attenders to commit to give at least 10% of their income “to God” i.e. the church. What do you say to that?

  48. This is amazing, thank you brother! I’ve always been in bondage about tithing till about 5 years ago. In my Grace journey, God has been setting me free! I still get frustrated when I see churches spend 10-20 minutes before or after the sermon to convince the church to give. They sound desperate to me, convincing people under obligation. In the tithe healing process, I have been more excited to give knowing I down have to, sounds strange. But it has opened up my creativity of giving. Thanks for confirming this!

    Question, would you mind explaining the sandal-strap for me. I’m not getting the part where he refused to take anything, and relating it to the symbolisms of the Law. Thank you!

  49. Peter O'Connor // December 10, 2016 at 7:02 am // Reply

    Hi Paul, am just going through the whole tithing/giving thing as an exercise for my own curiosity. You have alerted me to some things I have never seen in that passage about Abram and admit I have never looked at it myself, just allowed others to preach their understanding of it to me. Am I missing something here or did Abram actually end up giving away everything? He gave 10% to Melchizidek, and the rest (apart from an unknown portion to other guys mentioned), back to the king of Sodom?

    Am also a bit confused by your comments on the king of Sodom, who told Abram to keep the loot, but give me back the people (as a king should). He wasnt taking, he was giving. Yet it seems that the spoils of war were actually his goods as they were from Sodom, which was his town. Did Abram end up with nothing?

  50. Berris-Dale Joseph // December 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm // Reply

    Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts if I will not open you the windows of heaven , and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 310).

    You have rightly stated, “Grace begets grace.” “It’s in the DNA.” “It happens effortlessly.”

    Packed in this single verse (although verses 8, 9,11,12 seem more directly related to the arguments of this passage) are a host of blessings that I personally crave, need, and want, not only for myself, but also for everyone who share the GRACE DNA.

    The only discrepancy I see between your article, here, Dr. Ellis, and Malachi 3:10 is that there seems to be a requirement in this passage from Malachi, in which a bold command is given: “Bring all the tithe in the storehouse…”

    There seems to be a requirement based on an established relationship between a people and God. If so, the component that unites such fortunate people with such loving God, is GRACE.

    Grace gives us that blessed DNA to not only give to God freely, as we choose, but also to respond to God’s loving command—with all the intended blessings BEHIND His command.

    God’s bark (in His command) seems worse than His bite. He does not bite at all. He opens His mouth with blessings for you, for me, and for us all.

    • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm // Reply

      Dear brother LPJ:

      To tithe does not mean that we are supposing that Jesus’ work for us is insufficient. To tithe is again, an act of obedience, which act is produced by the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. It has nothing to do with trying to help God in saving us. It is a pure act of obedience; and Jesus says, “If you love me” then you will “keep my commandments.” The only requirement of obedience to God is love for God. There is no other requirement in scripture. And again, this love comes into reality for us by that foundational love of God.

      Generosity smacks of an original behavior in this context. It seems to be more attributed to God, although this principle can also be done by human beings/Christians. This principle of generosity is echoed in John 3:16, saying, “For God SO loved the world….” That word “so” echoes generosity. When a human being is generous to other human being he or she does not do it from responding love or from obedience, necessarily; but more so from compassion towards the other party or parties. When we pay the tithes as the book of Malachi enjoins us we are doing so in obedience to God’s word. He is speaking and dealing with born-again people–who are thus geared to obey delightfully the will of the heavenly Father. Now, if we give to God more than one tenth of our earnings, say two, three times tithe, then that would seem to be Generosity, because we are giving more than was specified. At the end obedience is still obedience; and generosity is still generosity. It seems that they are each prompted by differing motives or causes: one to fulfill a command or direction; the other to satisfy the extent of one’s compassion for a needy cause.

      • I once would have agreed with you, but you are trying to mix two very different systems, which can only result in confusion and goes well beyond a discussion about tithing. The completed work of Jesus absolutely did negate everything from the old system. He completely fulfilled the law and left no part for us to fulfill. You said it well in your concluding sentence where you described the two systems. When we are trying to live in obedience to commands it produces death in us (Romans 7:9). Life is produced in us through our oneness with the Vine. The Vine supplies you with love, compassion, and living the life of Christ. Obedience puts the focus on a list of commands. Oneness puts the focus on a relationship with a Person. This is why we receive through rest. Resting in Jesus allows His life to flow.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 9, 2018 at 2:51 pm //

        Again, Dear LPJ:

        If I may respond once more: What does Ephesians 2:8-10 says? It says that we are not saved by works; yet, it also says that God has ordained good works that we should walk in them. Does it not say these two things?

        How then could you say that I am mixing up two conflicting issues? I am not doing that at all. My report is Biblically sound. I know that. This very text is in agreement with my report.

        I stated that we are not saved by works, although there is a natural work of obedience once we have been born again. And Ehesians 2:8 -10 is saying the very same thing—no salvation by works–yet, God has ordained a place for good works for us to walk in.

        When a person saved from drowning in the sea by His brave and kind savior, does that saved man just sit on the sea shore for the rest of his/her life? No. Not at all. That saved person after recovery will be more excited to get up and start living again, to even be motivated to do good works more than ever before.

        That saved person is not dead. That saved person was going to die. But he/she has been saved out of the life-threatening water. He/she has now a second lease on life: It is now time to work the greatest works possible, not time to play dead.

        Now that the Lord has given us new life, why are we not excited, abounding in good works?

      • So what about the text I provided? Is that one less significant? You didn’t mention anything about it. In your original comment you referred to being obedient to commands and I was trying to respond directly to what you said. If you notice in my response I said we can only live the life of Christ by abiding in Him and allowing Him to live His life through us. This could include some pretty good works, but it is very different from obedience or even motivation in the way you described it. It is much more about abiding in Jesus and not getting overly concerned about the good works. The Vine is doing the supplying and producing the fruit. (BTW, I don’t at all mind your responses, unless Paul Ellis thinks we are getting off point. Thanks)

      • If I am afraid of the word obedience it is because it falls well short of communicating the depth of relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father. It is beyond what can be compared to in our relationships with our children because He shares His life with us in our hearts. He puts His nature and desires in us, so as we live in union with Him, He is living through us. To say that is obedience would cheapen it and give me more credit than I deserve.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 11, 2018 at 1:42 am //

        Again LPJ:

        I do understand your point as you express it from your heart. That is a matter of growing in Christ or going through the patient process of become better.

        Consider that we are changing from glory to glory, as we continue to abide in the Vine, according to the apostle Peter. From the strength and nobility we gain in that abiding, we also gain righteousness just as a mango tree born from its parent mango tree now bears mangoes on its own tree—but it came from its parent mango tree. We are like that mango tree. Yet, we are in a sense unlike that mango tree, in that we can say no to God, by our WILL. That was how Lucifer, a once good angel in heaven, did it. He chose to go against God. He was not made a robot: neither are we.

        The mango tree cannot help to bear mangoes. It cannot say no to God; but we can say no to God, even though we are abiding in the Vine. That is why Christ emphasizes so encouragingly to us, “Abide in Me!” This is why the word OBEDIENCE cannot be rendered irrelevant in the process of Christianity.

        Although King Saul had received the prophetic spirit, he later chose to DISOBEY God’s specific orders to kill everything, spearing nothing. Yet, Saul spared the well looking sheep. Samuel had to tell the king that to OBEY is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

        Jesus says further in John 15 that we are His friends IF we do what He tells us to do. Here is the principle of OBEDIENCE again, in the same passage that so lovingly commands us to abide in Him, the Vine.

        We may conclude that we abide in Him so that we may be enabled by that transformation of character, to OBEY God. Once we are dead to that old man of sin, fear, worry, etc, we could not but find it delightful to comply with God’s directions.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 12, 2018 at 5:12 am //

        Nevertheless, Richard, we are not in position to slight the Lord’s requirements. Do you go and try to buddy buddy with the president of your country in order to get him to lower the tax rate? I don’t think you would do that, as noble a person as you are. Then why presume that any quality of relationship with God should exempt a Christian from paying the tithe and offerings systematically? We do not want to go that route, presuming upon God’s good nature to bail us out of the responsibities He has already enjoined. Nothing could be more dishonorable to a king. Nothing strains relationship more than that kind of atttude.

        Now, even if I am having a difficult time for whatever reason or reasons to pay the tithe, I do not add insult to injury by trying to justify my inability to pay that which the Lord has seen fitting to require of me. Whatever good you or I may say about relationship and the quality of it, God is the Land Lord here. And we are the tenants. We do not presume upon the mercies of the good Lord flippantly, for we are not on equal plane with God. Not only must God do justice by us; we MUST also do justice by the Lord. True justice makes no excuses for irresponsible action, nor does it exacts benefits from a good person through fraud: but again, to obey is better than sacrifice. And to hearken than the fat of rams; so says the Holy prophet, Samuel.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 13, 2018 at 5:37 pm //

        Dear momzilla76: Please show me in scripture where, when it comes to moral conduct and duties, God draws a line between people or dispensations. Please bear in mind that I said, MORAL conduct and duties. This is not an attack; but it is not a petty matter. This is necessary confrontation. It is done in love and in justice. I too content for the faith and gospel of Jesus christ as a defender of the truth of almighty God. I defend not based on my own opinion or wisdom, but by the conviction of the Word and Spirit of God.

        When God asks the question in the book of Malachi, “Will A MAN rob God?” was He saying that only the MEN He addressed at that time were MEN? Or was He speaking regarding MAN period? Yes, He addressed those Old Testament men first, apparently; but His address to them is applicable to all mankind, which includes womankind, if you please. Would you still say, in light of this soundness of reason that the tithe is an old testament requirement? Do you not see the comprehensive application of God’s question to include all humanity, past, present, and future?: “Will a man rob God?”

        I know that you believe that Christ Jesus died for the sin of the whole world, not just for the sin of Old Teatament and/or New Testament people. Likewise, is the tithe principle as referenced in the Old Testament applicable to all mankind, past, present, and future.

      • momzilla76 // May 14, 2018 at 7:55 am //

        Context. Until we agree that single verses should not to be read as isolated statements we are never going to agree. Malachi 3 is very clearly speaking to the Hebrews and definitely about the old covenant Law. Verse 8 does not exist by itself. Who was God asking about robbing? All people everywhere? Or according to the scripture preceding it: Judah v4, Jerusalem v4, sons of Jacob v6, sons of Levi v3 and people associated with the temple v1. If we go back into chapter 2 we see that this entire message is even more narrowly focused. “O priests” v2:1 it begins and the people group being addressed never changes. Tithing was introduced for priestly support when God gave Moses the Laws at Sinai. It is not an eternal principle. It is an old covenant law.

    • momzilla76 // May 10, 2018 at 12:15 am // Reply

      All this arguing over 10% when it is too little from some and too much from others. Why not trust that God(that grace dna) will lead the individual to give according to their means? 10% as a strict tithe makes poor people either skim on their housing payments and/or utilities or feel guilty for not couching up the all hallowed “10”. While those with more wealth get stingy and stick with only 10% when their blessings could allow them to give more without even noticing the lack. God knows the individual, their mites and their full coffers. Why do we not trust that he will speak to and lead each person to give what they can? Of course you cannot budget on such leadings while the 10% as a hard rule allows for much more uniformity of income. People genuinely do listen to God without adding in rules from the old covenant.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 10, 2018 at 7:25 am //

        Dear LPJ:

        I do not have a problem with your idea, which is also biblical, hat we abide in Christ; and that abiding in Him has its true and proper results in good works. I fully and very enthusiastically agree with you on this point.

        I would even add that not only are good works produced by abiding in Christ, but also that REST of heart and soul is a definite result of abiding in Christ. It is also such rest in Christ that enables us in the production of good works.

        The only thing that I sense wrong here, I think, is we are scared of the word OBEDIENCE. Let us not be afraid of it. It means the same thing that happens when we are abiding in Christ; but it seems to me that just as we allow criminals to steal our joys and freedom, by legislating new laws that pinch the truely law abiding citizens more than is meet, so also we sometimes allow those who preach and teach salvation by works to steal our joys—-that is, the joy and confidence of our true understanding of scriprure.

        You are right on that note, but I did not refuse to comnent on your given text just for the sake of refusing . It is about thought processing. It does not always happen the way one may expect. That is what I like about God, our maker: He makes us all with individuality…

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 11, 2018 at 12:30 am //

        Dear momzilla76:

        Dear, you speak of trust in one sense, and then you speak against it by representing a double standard to not having to pay 10% consistently— regarding the amount of income.

        When the prophet Elisha tells Naaman, the leper to dip in the Jordan River 7 times to be healed, would dipping any less number of times bring him the healing promised? No; not at all. Why not? Answer: because the man of God had given a specific number, 7, and God in heaven backed it up? It will be definitely required for His healing to be realized.

        That is a benefit to be gained through faith/trust in the revealed word of God, by His servant. To get the healing with say, six dips would make a mockery of faith, rendering it unnecessary from one subsequent generation to the other.

        God promises to bless those who take Him at His word; i.e.,the tithe, saying that He will open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing you won’t have enough room to receive. He could not pour out such a blessing if you give Him 9% percent when He said 10%.

        With the offering you could apply the idea you stated, but not with the tithe. The offering is based on your honest discretion with respect to your income and true financial ability. The tithe is a fixed requirenent on the bases of what you earn per specific time intervals.

      • richard elson // May 11, 2018 at 3:56 pm //

        10%, 9%, gross pay or net.
        We resort to literalism when we don’t know the nature of our relationship with God. Contrast
        literalism and the actions it demands with our heart response to the needs of the kingdom when we know the Father. . .and whatever we do outside of this relationship is sin.

        The windows of heaven are already wide open.

      • momzilla76 // May 12, 2018 at 1:04 am //

        So God is in bondage to 10% where He cannot bless the poor family giving the 5$ left after paying their survival bills? I think your view of the tithe has boxed God in.
        Not everyone has reached a level of trust where they can hand over 10% when it could very well get them evicted or their electricity turned off. I’m not talking pinching in extra spending. I’m talking survival living.
        I do not see the tithing as an eternal principle as some teach it. It was a specific thing for a specific covenant. Not that the new has come the dynamics have changed. Yes I have seen some people get the financial help/blessing they need and theyascribed it to their faithfulness in tithing. Yet I have also experienced the same kind of help without the tithe from standing on the new covenant. In both cases God was blessing and helping his new covenant believers. One person just inaccurately assumed it was because they tithed not because they living under the new covenant.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 12, 2018 at 7:55 pm //

        Dear momzilla76

        I am truly afraid of such presumptuous argument. Do you not realize that against such confusion law must be applied. How do you expect that people in general smoothly follow a course dictated by mere human opinion? Is this an opinion contest or is this an effort to learn and do the will of God? The Bible tells you that God will bless you if you pay the tithe. You say that it is not necessarily an accurate indication of obedience in tithing when a tithe psyer is blessed. Now, in all honesty, how do uou expect to win any souls to God, when you subscribe to no doctrine, no belief, no stance at all? Like I said earlier, you and I may find ourselves in a difficult financial state where we decide not to pay our tithe; but we should not glorify nor seek to justify our nkn-titve paying activities. There should be an attitude of compliance, and a diligent ambition to return to God in obedience to His will.

      • momzilla76 // May 13, 2018 at 12:43 am //

        “Presumptuous”? So you are saying that I have exceeded the limits of what is permitted or appropriate with my argument?(check out the dictionary definition of presumptuous) LOL
        I keep saying that tithing is old covenant and that we are under the new. People get blessed because they are new covenant children of God not because they are practicing the old covenant priestly support giving of 10%. This is not human opinion. It is bible basics of old covenant vs new.
        No the bible does not tell us gentiles that God will bless us if we tithe. It tells the children of Israel under the old covenant that God would bless them if they paid their priestly support tithe. Just because a promise is in the bible does not mean it applies to us. Context is vital.
        You are taking a very odd jump from my disagreeing with you on tithing to saying that I have no convictions or doctrine. I just don’t have your doctrines, beliefs, or stances on tithing. Do not let this devolve down into petty attacks.

      • Berris-Dale Joseph // May 17, 2018 at 8:52 pm //

        Dear momzilla76:

        Malachi 2:8: As God speaks to the priests He tells them, “But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law”…
        The priests minister to God on behalf of the people. God reaches the people through the priests who minister before God. They lift the people up to God. God is charging the priests here of neglect in their duties to the common people. If the priest do not do right, the people also will not do right, because the priests as charged by God have “corrupted the covenant of Levi.” If God is telling the priests that they have failed, refused to give glory unto His Name, then you should rest assured that the common people are in the same spiritual state. God expresses concern here for the commom people by confronting the priests who have failed to do the Lord’s work. The priests are not an isolated case. The priests are in a position of responsibility. God is displeased with them because they have not properly instructed the common people. That He holds the priests more responsible indicates that His objective is for the commom people together with the priests, to know and practice the law of God. The Lord is not isolating the priests as if they are the only ones to pay tithe. He is holding them responsible for not teaching the common people by precept and by example. This does not mean that God does not expect the common people as well as the priests to pay their tithe and offerings. This is also a part of why God is angry with the priests.

      • momzilla76 // May 18, 2018 at 10:02 am //

        Not denying that in the least.

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