Updated: May 9, 2022
The modern-day message of tithing heard in most churches is straight out of context.
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” — 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
The church parking lot was fading into the distance behind us. Headed towards our
home, my wife looked at me and said with utter dread in her voice, “Hunny, I forgot to
put the tithe check in the offering plate.”
My stomach was in my throat.
“You forgot what!?”
“I’m sorry, I was playing the offertory, and I lost track of our tithe envelope.”
“I was taking up the offering! That's just great, now we are guilty of robbing God!”
I distinctly remember that scenario playing out more than one time between my
wife and me. The frantic feeling that God is going to deliberate judgment, or withhold
his protection from my finances and my home because I forgot to put 10% of my
gross income into a strange-looking plate with a velvet pad in the bottom.
The Message of Fear
“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” —Malachi 3:6-12
My memory goes back to the years of my training to be a Baptist pastor when I heard
a preacher give a certain illustration.
One day, this preacher was in his office when a church member showed up at His door.
“Hello, preacher! I have a favor to ask.”
“Sure, how can I help?”
The man said, “Preacher, I am behind on some bills. Would you be able to release
me from the tithe just this once?”
As the preacher looked at the crowd with sincerity he let us in on what he told the
man concerning the tithe, “No sir, I am unable to release you from the tithe. That is
something God requires of you.”
Apparently, the person behind the desk went on to say that if the man did not
tithe, he would incur the wrath of God.
Why? He would be robbing God!
Religion has a field day with that! Preachers of institutional religion love to snatch those few verses out of context and use them to put guilt on the blood-bought, children of God who have been redeemed from the curse of the law!
Can you imagine how much power that gives someone? There are people who believe God placed them in authority over other believers, and therefore they have the right to tell people they should be giving 10% of their gross income to the New Testament church, and its CEO (The Pastor)!? It gets worse; these same people will assert with great passion that God told them to tithe to their institution. IT GETS WORSE. These same people will scream, yell, spit and throw absolute fits with the message of, "If you don't tithe you're not right with God." At that point it’s now a conversation of justification before God.
Fortunately, they do not have that power, and the scriptures intimate nothing of
To understand this, we need to look at The Old and New Covenants and under-
stand what was said under one doesn’t necessarily apply under the other.
A Message of Hope
I am thankful for Jesus. As I think about the amount of money I have put into that plate over the years out of sheer duty, I am reminded of the fact that I wanted to be a cheerful giver.
It is very difficult to give cheerfully with the massive amount of pressure religion imposes on one’s shoulders. The fear and intimidation of the messages I subjected myself to were overwhelming.
Describing God to me in this area of giving by tithing (in a halfway attempt to follow the law of Moses) was almost like the IRS. Pay up, or he will punish you!
One preacher, void of an understanding of grace, said that God would even be willing to take your family from you if you didn’t tithe. All of a sudden, God became an angry mafia boss?
Not in a million years.
Fortunately, this is not an accurate description of the God who sent His Son to reconcile the whole world to Himself. The Old Covenant was a proving ground for man, and we failed (Hebrews 8:8). So, God wanted to take the pressure from us to perform and place it upon himself. Hence, the New Covenant. (Hebrews 8:8-13)
When Jesus died, a New agreement began (Hebrews 9:16). The New Covenant was a deal God made with Himself concerning mankind.
Jesus endured the curse for our disobedience to the former ordinances of the law, and we are set free as believers (Romans 5:1), having died to that which held us captive. (Romans 7:6)
We are no longer bound by the law of Moses that imposed tithing on the people to feed the priests of the temple. As Gentiles, we never were in the first place. Thankfully, we aren’t today and never will be.
My friend, you will not be cursed for enjoying your freedom from giving 10% of your gross income to an institution with a 501C3 tax-exempt corporation status.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” Galatians 3:13
The tithe is not for the New Testament church. It was never for the New Testament church. Go ahead and look all through the writings of the apostles after the death of Jesus. You will not find them ever again tithing according to the law of Moses. It is finished.
No more ordinances of the law. Just unmerited favor and blessing (grace) from a
Father (God) who loves you to death (Jesus), and resurrected so that He could put His
Spirit (the Holy Spirit) within you to guide you. Romans 4:25-5:2
We Are Free.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or
under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
We are free to give from our hearts. No pressure. This is because Jesus is in there. He leads us in our giving. Not a set of rules and regulations. This is the most freeing thing you will find when it comes to giving away anything you have: the fact that you are free to do so.
Grace inspires us to give. Grace does not pressure us to give. Often, the giving of Grace is much more than when we are pressured to do so by law or of necessity.
So give. Give freely from your heart, believer, to whomever you will. Jesus is in