What is Christian Giving?

First, defining what is not Christian giving is necessary. Christian giving is not tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 1/10 of one’s income for the support of the Levitical priesthood, tabernacle, and temple system under the law. 

The Mosaic Law was given to the Jewish people and this was their guideline for moral living and civic law, as a nation with God as their “King”. If the Law was not upheld, punishment occurred according to the infraction.

These statutes are noted in the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which are also called the Torah (Hebrew for instruction).

This is defined in Numbers 18:21-32 and restated in Hebrews 7:5.

Hebrews 7:5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.

Under the law, tithing was required of produce and livestock, a currency of the day. Tithing is a statute under the Law. 

Along side the tithing system, Israel also gave “freewill” offerings in addition to their required giving as a form of worship to God (Exodus 35:21, 29; 1 Chronicles 29:9, 2 Chronicles 35:8, Ezra 3:5, 8:28).  This giving was based on “whose heart moved them” and “willingly”, rather than under compulsion of the Law.

Exodus 35:29 All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.

The Law, being given as a part of the Mosaic Covenant, was to be replaced by a coming “New Covenant” as promised by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Therefore, the law is for a specific time period and a code of conduct which ended with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ instituted this “New Covenant” at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) prior to His death & resurrection.

Romans 10 clearly states the end of the Mosaic Covenant in Christ Jesus. Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

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As Christians, we are not required to keep the Law, but rather apply the “Spirit” or the principles laid forth by the Law. 

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Christian living is not a checklist of “dos & don’ts”. Nor is Christian giving a specific amount according to a statute to follow. This is legalism.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

Paul chides the Galatians for legalism.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, (Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).

A reminder to us all, if you practice the Law, you shall live by the Law (Galatians 3:12). This is a serious standard. Do you really want to go there? Do you even want to try and live by the one standard of a tithe?

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Translated another way, you break one, you break them all. This is reinforced by James.

James 2:10, for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

We are under grace and not under the Law.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master of you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. 

What is the standard of grace giving? Give as you see fit from the heart. Give in a cheerful manner and because you desire to do as such.

2 Corinthian 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Responses to “What is Christian Giving?”

  1. Christina Says:

    Dear Paul,
    I typically really love your articles on end times and seeing how current events may tie into biblical prophecy. However, I was really discouraged that you believe that God no longer calls us to tithe to the church in the New Testament. The New Testament does call us to tithe (give a tenth) of your income. See the verses below. In Matthew 22, Jesus is specifically speaking about money, he is calling us to give to him what belongs to him which is the tithe and then some. In Acts, the people sold and gave everything, more than just a tithe. In Matthew 23, Jesus calls the Pharisees blind guides, and implores them to not neglect tithing in addition to having justice, mercy and faithfulness. I believe the email you sent is false teaching, and is detrimental to the church, and those seeking to follow Jesus, and Jesus’ mission for our lives here on earth. I pray you are able to read and receive this and really pray about it.

    Matthew 22:21 –21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

    Matthew 23:23 –23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  

    In addition, our hearts are deceitful, so to tithe what you feel in your heart…may or may not work out for you if your heart is not inline with God.

    Jeremiah 17:9
    “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

    • Christina: Thank you for your thoughtful and considerate response.

      At the core of this discussion is the church and nation Israel are 2 completely different entities. Nation Israel is under the Law. The church is under grace.

      The law, tithing is for Israel. The church is under a higher standard, grace. And if one does not believe in Jesus, they are still under the standard of the law.

      Your examples listed above are very appropriate. The Pharisees are part of Israel. The church had yet to become.

      The example you gave in Acts was in regards to church members and they gave more. Again, grace is a higher standard.

      Matthew 22 and Caesar is in regards to taxes. We are suppose to pay our taxes to the government. This is a completely separate issue than what is being discussed in the post.

      I can promise you, this is not an issue I take lightly. Historically, the church has abused and manipulated the concept of the tithe.

      In light of what Christ has done for us on the cross, I personally feel more obligated than to live a check list life, pay 10% and go on about my business. Pure legalism…

      Yes, a church/local body needs financial support as well as other kinds of support. The church is not a building. It is a living body. And that body needs help in many forms and fashions. Giving is more than donating a set amount of money.

      Because of Christ and His efforts, our standard, our response should be more than 10%. How can we ever repay Him?

      Once again, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read, follow, and comment.
      Thanks, Paul

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