Common statements used to promote tithing. Click item–to read In-Christ perspective.
We have a completely different and much better relationship with God than Abraham had. It calls for a totally different way of living and giving—led by the Spirit and tailored to each person uniquely and individually.
Consider the differences between a believer in Jesus Christ and Abraham:
See Notes for scriptural references for each statement.
Disinformation is false information, purposely given out to deceive an enemy. It's an ancient weapon of strategic warfare. The church is in a spiritual war and faces a steady stream of disinformation designed to deceive it and hold it in weakness. Jesus said that knowing the truth is the key to victory.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
The truth that will make you free is the knowledge of the finished work of Christ—his death, burial, resurrection, and what he accomplished by them. When a person understands identification with Christ, union with Christ, and living by the power of the indwelling Christ, he will have the spiritual foundation to experience the triumph of Christ. The devil tries to obscure that truth in his effort to neutralize the church.
Tithing contradicts the foundations of the New Covenant and life in Christ. It promotes a mentality that holds Christians in spiritual immaturity and weakness. The problem with tithing is not the percentage; it's the spiritual perspective that causes people to think, to believe, and to act inconsistently with the truth of what God has done through Christ and their relationship to him as a son.
In this chapter and the two following it we will examine some of the teachings on tithing that negate the truth. There are some you may have never heard before and some may even seem hard to believe, but they have all been preached by prominent and well-respected ministers.
This statement implies that tithing is an eternal law in God's kingdom that will never change. It is based on the following verses from the Old Testament.
And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S: it is holy unto the LORD. (Lev. 27:30)
And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the LORD. (Lev. 27:32)
Let's look at these verses in their context. Who is talking, who are they talking to, and what are they talking about? From verses 1 and 2 of the chapter we have the answer to all three questions. The Lord is speaking to Moses and is giving him instructions to give to the children of Israel. These instructions are not to the body of Christ. They are specifically for the people who lived under the Law. There is no tithe in the New Covenant so they cannot apply to us.
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (Rom. 3:19)
The Law is not speaking to the new creation in Christ. It was never intended for us. We live in a much higher and better relationship with God.
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. (Gal. 3:24–25)
In the New Covenant we are sons of God. We are joint heirs with Jesus of all things. Jesus owns everything in both the seen and unseen worlds, and we are joint owners with him. This covenant is like a marriage, where 100 percent is owned by both parties and is at all times committed to the other's use.
Some believers who tithe have the wrong idea that 10 percent belongs to God and 90 percent belongs to them. But to walk with God you must accept his right to call for any amount at any time. Life in the spirit as a mature son is only available on that basis. With maturity comes both liberty and responsibility. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit, not by carnal principles like tithing that were necessary for men who were not born again.
People who have wrong beliefs about tithing can still be greatly blessed, according to their faith and how they follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. But no matter how blessed and successful they are, it doesn't validate their doctrine and it doesn't mean they have all that God has made available. The glorious life of Christ cannot be fully experienced while following a way of life that was intended for men who lived before the resurrection.
Most of the erroneous teaching on tithing comes from one thing; people are trying to apply Old Covenant principles to life in Christ and the two don't mix. Paul had his biggest problem with people who were trying to fit the New Covenant believers into an obsolete way of living. The same problem continues today.
People who teach tithing say they are not promoting the Law. However, the only instructions on tithing that came from God came through the Law to people who were under the Law. That was the only group of people he ever instructed to tithe.
The next four topics will cover one of the most often quoted passages on the subject of tithing, Malachi 3:8–11. It is another Old Covenant passage that is being wrongly applied to life in Christ.
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (Mal. 3:8)
Under the Old Covenant the tithe was the Lord's and the children of Israel were robbing God when they didn't give it to him. We have a completely different relationship to God. The New Covenant is actually between God the Father and Jesus. Therefore, it is perfect and eternal because it does not depend on a fallible human who might break it. We are included in the New Covenant by our spiritual union with Jesus and we share his covenant relationship with the Father.
The Father has already given everything there is to the Son. Jesus Christ is the rightful Lord and owner of all things. By virtue of being in Christ and being his body we are joint owners of all things with him.
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Rom. 4:13)
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)
And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:29)
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (1 Cor. 3:21–23)
We have no possessions that are ours separately from Jesus Christ. Everything belongs to him and us together, so there is no such thing as robbing God by not tithing. The commitment in this covenant is 100 percent from both parties. The issue is not tithing; it's following the Holy Spirit's leading at all times.
Our relationship to God as a born-again son is superior to anything previous. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus. God is not his own either because he has committed himself to us, to be a Father and total savior to us. We no longer live on the level of a tither. We live in the high calling of absolute abandonment to God and his purposes on earth. That is the new standard of 100 percent commitment in the New Covenant.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)
…they loved not their lives unto the death. (Rev. 12:11b)
The church is like it is today because of what it has been taught. It has not been taught the strong truth about the glorious relationship we have with God. It's time that Christians should be given the meat of God's word. (Heb. 5:12–14) It's time for them to be treated like sons who are capable of growing up into full stature in Christ.
Our standard today is not 10 percent, it is Christ himself who gave everything. Paul is an example for us:
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Phil. 3:7–8)
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (Mal. 3:9)
God had given Israel the Law over one thousand years before the prophet Malachi spoke those words. God told Israel very clearly what the blessing would be for keeping the Law and what the curse would be for breaking it. Over the years Israel broke it repeatedly and suffered the curse as punishment. That was the nature of their covenant.
There is no curse upon us in Christ. It isn't part of our covenant. Jesus bore it and completely redeemed us from it.
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: (Gal. 3:13)
Those who teach that there is a curse for not tithing are contradicting the most basic truths of the New Covenant. However, if you put yourself back under the Law you will put yourself under the curse.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal. 3:10)
Life in Christ works by a different spiritual process, which is not compatible with the Old Covenant paradigm.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; (Rom. 4:16)
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. (Mal. 3:10)
Just as there was a curse for breaking the Law, there was a blessing for keeping the Law. Israel was challenged to keep the law of tithing and thereby put God to the test. Malachi 3:10 was not written to the church.
We are operating from a completely different perspective. God has already given us everything in our union with Christ. We don't do things to earn blessings. Neither is there a curse upon us if we fall short. God is looking for mature sons who will abide in Christ and allow him to live through them. God wants us to walk by faith and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not tithe.
The mind we have in Christ is a consciousness of already having all needs met, even though the provision may not be seen in the natural realm. That is faith. The idea that giving will cause God to do something is not faith, it's a mentality of lack and manipulation. When giving is based on love for people and faith that God has already provided for you, then it's in agreement with the truth
The New Covenant doesn't operate by generic standards like the tithe. It is administrated by the Holy Spirit in a way that is unique to each person and situation. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything, give the money to the poor, and come follow him. (Matt. 19:16–30, Luke 18:18–30) Those instructions were unique to him. A tithe would not have been sufficient.
In 1 Timothy 6:17–18 the rich are not commanded to give everything away like the rich young ruler was. They are instructed how they should use their wealth. When Peter asked Jesus what would be required of John, he was told that it was none of his business. (John 21:20–22) God deals with each person and situation individually.
There are many ways that faith can be expressed; however, they will all be uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit for the specific situation. Faith is what God is looking for now, not tithing.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Gal. 3:9)
The difference between faith and works is a matter of the heart. Something that's done to get a blessing is a work. Something that's done because you believe you already have all blessings is an action of faith. Grace and works do not mix. Either we are blessed as a free gift of grace or we are blessed because of our works.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Rom. 4:4–5)
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Rom. 11:6)
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. (Mal. 3:11)
God promised to rebuke the devourer if Israel would keep their covenant obligation to tithe. If they didn't, the curse of destruction would come on them.
Again, the New Covenant operates differently than the Old. Jesus has already defeated the devil, redeemed us from his works, and delivered us out of his authority. It's all based on Jesus' shed blood, not on tithing. We are not waiting for God to rebuke the devourer. Jesus has given us the authority and the responsibility to use his name to enforce his finished work.
The New Testament graphically describes the devil's defeat and Jesus' triumph.
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col. 2:15)
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Heb. 2:14–15)
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Eph. 1:20–21)
The New Testament is very clear that everything Jesus did in his death, burial, and resurrection was for our benefit and that we now share his complete victory and authority over all the power of darkness.
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)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Col. 1:12–14)
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Col. 2:9–10)
Through Christ we are in a place of victory and authority that was unknown to the people of God in previous covenants. God had servants under the Law, and if they kept the Law he could bless them. God now has sons in Christ and expects a different way of living from them. He has given us a staggering amount of authority in the name of Jesus and the responsibility that goes with it.
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matt. 18:18)
Behold, I give unto you power (authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matt. 28:18)
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17–18)
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9–11)
God is not waiting to rebuke the devourer for those who tithe; he has already thrashed him! Any man in Christ has the benefit of that total victory without tithing. Putting people's attention on tithing as the source of their protection from the devil is a deception. It keeps them in a weak, Old Covenant mindset. It distracts them from their responsibility to bind the devil and cast him out in Jesus name.
Tithing has been wrongly exalted beyond the actual importance that it did have in the Old Covenant. Sometimes it seems that tithing has become the paramount issue in Christian preaching and teaching. However, in the covenant that God made with Israel at Mt. Sinai, tithing was just one of the Law's many requirements.
In God's covenant with Abraham, tithing was not included. God guaranteed that covenant without any requirement of tithing. Tithing is not part of the New Covenant either. It is based on the blood of Jesus alone.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matt. 26:28)
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:29)
God knew that the only way to provide salvation and blessing to man was to provide it as a free gift. Man was incapable of contributing anything. Jesus provided all that was required, his own shed blood. Salvation is by grace and it includes every benefit purchased by the blood of Jesus at the cross. If prosperity or any other covenant blessing depended on the tithe, then the tithe would be purchasing it, not the blood of Jesus.
The New Covenant is a blood covenant not a tithe covenant. Faith is the connection, but it is faith in the shed blood of Jesus, not faith in tithing. Making tithing a requirement to maintain the covenant is just as wrong as making it a requirement to enter the covenant.