Chapter 12

Commencement

This book is about making a change from an obsolete and carnal way of living into a spiritual way of living in Christ, based on the New Covenant. It's about living like a person who is in union with Christ rather than a person who is separate from God. It's about entering a place of freedom in Christ to be led by the Spirit of God. Tithing is just one aspect of the old carnal way of thinking and relating to God, but it's a big hindrance that should be removed. The Holy Spirit is taking the church to a place of maturity in Christ and he has much further to go.

Some may still say, “I like to tithe, it works well for me, can't I do it if I want to?” Of course, you may give in whatever way you please. You have freedom in Christ. New Covenant giving is according to 2 Corinthians 9:7:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

However, God gave you that freedom so you could follow the Holy Spirit and live by the divine nature of Christ that came into you at the new birth. It would be a mistake to waste that opportunity by continuing in the old carnal ways of living, following the example of men who lived before the resurrection, who couldn't be born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

We have a relationship to God that beggars the imagination of previous generations. What God has done for man through Christ was the crowning display of his wisdom and power. His elevation of the new-creation man in union with Christ, to a place at his right hand in the heavenlies, surpasses all the hopes of the prophets who foretold of a messiah to come. God's spiritual union with man and personal presence within, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, has transformed the nature of his relationship with man. It has redefined the meaning of a life that is pleasing to him.

We cannot base our present relationship with God on the paradigms of the past. We will fall terribly short if we do. Tithing was the best that could be done for the age it was ordained. God was limited by the nature of the people with whom he was working. They were not spiritually reborn. They were not indwelt by the Holy Spirit to be led and inspired individually. They had to be controlled and directed externally. They had to be governed by a system of laws and generic commandments.

Tithing was a crude system of stewardship: one law for everyone, everywhere, at all times. God was dealing with an unregenerate people on the level of their lowest common denominator. The Holy Spirit was not working directly and uniquely within each person in every situation. For the body of Christ to return to a spiritually primitive system of financial stewardship based on tithing would be like rejecting the knowledge of space travel to return to a world of ox carts.

The Superiority of Jesus

The Lord Jesus Christ now deals with each member of his body directly and individually through the infinite ability of the Holy Spirit. He strategically calls for contribution and participation according to his infinite knowledge and wisdom. No two people are identical and neither should be their giving. Their income, their assets, their abilities, their place in God's kingdom and their connection to his work are all different. Their giving should be just as unique. The days of laws and generic instructions are over.

God is too brilliant to be limited to a one-size-fits-all system of giving for the body of Christ. He is too creative to be satisfied with a kingdom of drones who walk in monotonous lockstep, mindlessly following an external requirement like tithing. No two plants, animals or even snowflakes are identical in God's creation. Why should we expect that two people will have the same expression of giving any more than we would expect them to have identical fingerprints? Why would giving be regimented under one undiscriminating law that takes no account of the uniqueness of every person and situation?

The Lord Jesus Christ owns all the resources in every believer's possession. He maintains his right to instant access, any time and any place in the world. His body was designed for peak performance when each member is responding to his specific direction. He moves his body and does his business at the speed of inspiration. He operates now in this higher dimension because of the Holy Spirit who is in every believer to instruct them directly.

Whether you tithe or not, the New Covenant presumes that you have a one-hundred-percent commitment to God. That means you live totally for him with everything you possess and you seek to follow the Holy Spirit's leading. So even if you tithe, God expects you to remember that the remaining 90 percent belongs to him just as much as the first 10 percent. And he expects that you will be just as attentive to his leading about how you should use it.

Why Would You Want To Tithe?

If you still feel like you should tithe, you should ask yourself why. Do you think there is something spiritually better about tithing or being a tither? Do you think there is something special about 10 percent in the New Covenant? Are you still uncertain about being free from all preset percentages and practices of giving? Are you afraid that you will quit giving altogether if you don't regulate yourself with some kind of law? Do you feel nervous if you don't have some concrete way to judge how you are doing? Do you feel like you would be lost or disoriented without something external to guide you? Do you feel uncertain about having God's blessing, approval, and protection if you don't tithe?

All those questions relate to fundamental spiritual issues that are at the heart of the practice of tithing. Whether a person realizes it or not, their daily life is being governed and directed by the spiritual paradigm they have acquired. It influences everything in their relationship with God. It sets the limits of what he can do in and through them in this life. Continuing to follow a principle of tithing, when God has established a new and higher way of living, will tend to hold you in the all the other inferior ways of living that have now been superseded in Christ. It is not possible to enter the fullness of life in Christ as a son of God when you are still following ways of living that were ordained for people who were not born again.

The resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is the only objective standard for life as a son of God. Status quo Christianity does not portray who we are and what we have in Christ. The church is doing its best and the leaders should be appreciated, but we must not hesitate to question the doctrine that has been handed down to us. We must judge it in the light of God's word. We must follow the Holy Spirit as he leads the church to full stature in Christ.

Spiritually Better Not to Tithe

In answer to the question about continuing to tithe as a matter of freewill, you would be far better off to purge your thinking of tithing and all of the other low-realm mentalities that are associated with it. Become single-minded in your thinking about New Covenant life and your relationship to God as a son. Your spiritual life will be empowered as your mind is renewed to the conscious reality of a son of God. You will be transformed into a person who is guided and motivated by the Holy Spirit. You will rise to the level of power and authority that God has ordained for sons.

As long as your mind is open to the possibility that you should tithe, it will also be opened to weakness, confusion, error, and double-mindedness. The flesh has an unending temptation to latch onto something it can do to gain more favor or blessing from God. The carnal, religious mind gravitates to laws, principles, and systems of behavior that it can perform to maintain its control over the events of life.

Nothing to Gain by Tithing

All of God's righteousness, salvation, blessing, grace, and approval come to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Tithing cannot and does not add one single thing—it actually diminishes the finished work of Christ. That is a hard thing for the carnal mind to accept and it requires a constant commitment of faith to stay fixed on that truth. As long as tithing is an option, the carnal religious mind will prefer it and take confidence in it.

You don't need to tithe to prosper spiritually. You don't need to tithe to prosper financially. You don't need to tithe to receive God's full, covenant provision for health and strength. You don't need to tithe to have God's complete blessing, favor, and protection upon you and your family. You don't need to tithe to open the windows of heaven. You are already seated with Christ at the Father's right hand in heavenly places.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Eph. 2:5–6)

You are already blessed with every blessing that heaven has to offer.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Eph. 1:3)

Quit trying to open the windows of heaven and get a blessing poured out. Quit seeking after something you already have. Believe that you are seated at the Father's right hand and that all things are yours in Christ. Live in the reality of the finished work of Christ and all that it includes. Faith is the key. Believe God's word and act on it in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

The Father hasn't withheld anything from the Son and we have joint ownership of it all through our union with him. That is the glory of the finished work of the cross. God has nothing left that he could give us in return for tithing and he isn't looking for anything but faith anyway. You don't need to tithe to have any part of God's total salvation.

Tithing is an expression of devotion to God by many sincere people. But that doesn't change the fact that it is part of a low-realm, obsolete, and defunct mentality that brings weakness and confusion into the minds of Christians. We are supposed to be living like sons of God on earth and reigning in life by Jesus Christ. The tithing mentality obscures the reality of our glorious relationship and standing with God as sons, enthroned with Christ at the Father's right hand.

Whatever confidence that Christians gain by tithing is an illusion. Whatever sense of benefit or advantage they feel is really the confidence of the flesh in performing a religious work. God, in his goodness, will often honor sincere mistakes. He responds to faith. He can bless people when they are doing something that requires them to trust him. Their testimony of blessing is no validation of their doctrine, it is proof of God's goodness and his high regard for faith. They may have some measure of blessing but not to the degree they would have if they knew the truth and would begin to live like sons of God in Christ.

God rewards almost any kind of faith he can find, even misdirected faith that is sincerely following Old Testament patterns of worship. The Bible is full of examples that show the overwhelming preeminence that God gives to faith. Man, in his natural carnal mentality, thinks that works and deeds are God's highest priority. The tithing doctrine fits well with that carnal perspective.

In the matter of knowing how much money to give to churches or ministries, the answer is simply to ask the Lord and do as he leads. It isn't hard or complicated. The born-again believer in Jesus Christ has been re-created by design to be led by the Holy Spirit; it is as natural to him as breathing. There is no reason to be afraid of making a mistake. God is pleased by faith and it is an act of faith to trust that you are now a son of God through Jesus Christ, that you are completely righteous by his shed blood, and that you are now led by the Holy Spirit.

Full Stature in Christ

When your doctrine is cleansed of tithing and soundly based on the finished work of the cross, you will enter a whole new level of spiritual strength, authority, and boldness. You will experience a new dimension of love and gratitude toward God for all he has done for you in Christ. You will begin to taste the glorious freedom of real life in Christ. You will start to be fully alive in Christ as you were created to be. It will be the beginning of a lifelong journey toward full-statured maturity as a son of God in Christ.

The gospel is the message of the finished work of Christ and our sharing with him of his resurrected life. If we would preach that message we would see more faith, more commitment, and more action from Christians. We would also see more money given to support the work of God than the tithing message has ever produced.

By the grace of God, let's leave the obsolete mentalities and patterns of living that were given to men who lived before the resurrection. Let's enter the realm of true spiritual life in Christ and begin to express his life through us now. The glorious life that God intended is far better than the status quo of religion, but we have to turn loose of the old to enter into the new.