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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93 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.

  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…

  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.


      • 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.

  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__

  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

  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.

  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.

  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

  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.

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