Recently a famous Christian pastor taught a message at his church about how now that we are under the New Covenant, Christians are no longer required to tithe anymore. His premise was that tithing was a part of the Mosaic law and according to Matthew 5:17, Jesus fulfilled the law so Christians today are not required to tithe. This pastor has received a lot of criticism from many parts of the body of Christ who say that Christians are still supposed to tithe today. Some have even called him a heretic so needless to say this is a pretty contentious issue. This leads to an important question:
Should Christians tithe today?
It’s an important question to answer because if God wants us to give Him the first 10% of our income we should, but if we aren’t supposed to, then why should we put ourselves under bondage? Before I answer the question, I think it’s important to recognize this is a nuanced issue. I believe the Bible is clear that Christians should tithe today, but we should do so from a right motive. If we tithe from a wrong motive we miss the heart of God and miss the point and blessing associated with tithing. Let me explain.
God commanded command the Jews to tithe and give offerings as part of the Mosaic law. Malachi 3:8-9 says people were cursed with a curse if they did not tithe. This was true under the law, however, when Jesus went to the cross he lifted the curse of the law. According to Galatians 3:13, we are redeemed from the curse of the law because Jesus became a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”). When Jesus hung on the cross He was cursed in our placed and we will never be cursed by God because of our sin. This means Christians who do not tithe today are not cursed if they don’t tithe – period – end of story! Under the New Covenant we do not tithe in order to get blessed, we tithe because we are blessed.
With all that said, tithing is still a biblical principle we should follow today. Why?
- Tithing didn’t originate with the law of Moses. Both Abraham and Jacob tithed to the Lord prior to the giving of the law (see Genesis 14:20 and Genesis 28:22).
- According to Hebrews 7:8 Jesus receives our tithes today: 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Hebrews is one of the primary books in the New Testament where the New Covenant is revealed and even in this book of extreme grace, the writer talks about tithing. Tithing is a principle that exists today for believers under the New Covenant. This means the grace of God empowers us to tithe and give offerings and Jesus receives our tithes today!
- When we become born again, we get a new nature. Our new nature wants to give. We should tithe and give offerings because our nature is to give.
- To support the work of the ministry. It takes money for churches and other ministries to do what they do to reach people with the gospel. God wants us to tithe and give offerings to support the work of the church and ministries.
- We should tithe to walk in financial harvest. While we are blessed with the blessing of God whether we tithe or not, giving is the key to walking in our financial harvest. Again, we aren’t tithing to get God to bless us, we are already blessed. Tithing is an act of faith that causes us to activate the blessing. Let me explain. Imagine you had the most blessed garden in the world. Would that blessed garden yield any fruit if you didn’t sow a seed in the soil? No. The same goes with your financial garden. Your are blessed with all the blessings of heaven, but you have to do something with the blessing called sowing a financial seed to walk in a financial harvest.
- Tithing positions our heart to be sensitive to God. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. When we value something, we put our money into it. It is treasure. When we put our money into the gospel, it does something to our heart that causes God to become first place. When we only give occasionally when or it’s convenient, our heart is less committed to God. Our heart follows our money!
So should Christians tithe today? Absolutely! We just need to tithe for the right reasons. If we are tithing to earn the blessing of God, we might as well hold onto our money because are gonna need it. God honors faith in His grace not our striving to earn His favor. Legalism is about striving, while grace is about freedom! We give from freedom, not for freedom.
I hope this article has helped explain why we give today. If you would like to learn more about grace and giving, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church.