“But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death…” ~ Deuteronomy 22:20-21
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” ~ Malachi 3:10
A Tired Topic
I don’t stone women, and neither should you. It’s just not a good practice to have. I also don’t tithe, and neither should you. Same reason.
Tithing has become a tired topic. I’m tired, and more importantly, I believe the Lord is tired of His people being so hung up on money. Money is not His system. How can it be? It separates humans into classes. Those with more money are considered better or put into a higher class than those without it. God loves His people equally – Jews, Gentiles, male, female, slave, free – for He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He didn’t just love the rich, nor did He just love the poor. Jesus even remarked on how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He told the rich, young ruler to sell everything he had to follow Him. More than a few times He remarked on how the kingdom of God is like someone who sold everything for one thing – a treasure. (He is both that treasure and the one who gave up everything for a treasure – His Bride, the Church.)
Now, there will be those of you who argue that God promises riches and blessings to those who follow Him/obey His word/do His commandments. To think that it is His heart to bribe His people into doing His will is a sick, perverted view of God. Please hear my heart: Our inheritance in Jesus Christ is beyond all imagination; it cannot be fathomed. When we have Jesus Christ, we are in Him, and He is in us. We then have every spiritual blessing in Him. We are seated in the heavenlies with Him. He is our glory and we are His. It is all included in this remarkable Christ. We get that/receive that/understand that when we abide in His life and allow His life to be expressed through us. Those are our riches. HE IS OUR RICHES.
Allow me to explain a little more: God loves to bless His people. BUT, He will only bless them in the context of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one whose name is above every name. It is to Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue confess. He is the Lamb of God, and we are His Bride. He wins; He rules; He’s IT. And He brings us into that inheritance – the inheritance of Himself.
The Old Covenant
So, now let me get back to the idea of tithing – giving a tenth of your wealth (money, crops, livestock, etc.) to God. If you read your Bible text carefully, you will see where this is an old covenant command. Yes, it is a command with a promise attached to it, but it is still an old covenant command and promise. So, what’s the big deal about being a part of the old covenant? Jesus says, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” And the writer of the letter to the Grecian Jewish believers in Rome beautifully outlines this new covenant as being far superior to the old. He writes, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second,” and, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete.” (Hebrews 8:7 and 13 respectively)
Okay, so what does that mean? Well, it means so much more than I have time for in a single blog post, but for our purposes here, it means no more tithing. You have permission – no, you have the freedom to not tithe. You are set free from the old covenant. Jesus Christ is not only the author of the new covenant, He is the perfecter, or finisher, of the new covenant. He fulfills this new covenant.
Yeah, but tithing is still being preached from the pulpit; won’t I be sinning if I don’t tithe? Will you be sinning if you don’t stone to death a girl who is found to not be a virgin on her wedding day? If you pick one law from the old covenant to follow, you must follow all the laws. Jesus Christ fulfills the law – the whole law. You don’t get to pick and choose which laws from the old covenant to still follow, because the old covenant has been done away with. We now live by a new covenant. And that covenant is the life of Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant
What does that have to do with money? We now live by the new covenant. That new covenant is the life of Jesus Christ. His life was not His own. He did nothing that He did not first see His Father doing. He said nothing unless the Father first said it. Jesus Christ lived and operated out of His Father’s life. And that is what He wants us to do – live and operate out of His life. He is the vine, and we are the branches – remember that? We can do nothing apart from Him.
We can’t even tithe apart from Him. He no longer seeks a tenth of what we have. It’s all His. Everything the Father had belonged to Jesus, and everything Jesus had belonged to the Father. In the same way, everything Jesus has belongs to us, and everything we have belongs to Him. EVERYTHING. Not just a tenth of my wealth, but all of my wealth belongs to Jesus Christ. I am not my own. I am His. If by abiding in Him, He asks me to give up everything, then because I love Him, and it is His life, I do it. Not out of spite or reluctance, but I joyfully give my all to my Lord. All my money is His. If He wants me to give it, then I do. If He wants me to use it for His purpose, then I do. I don’t get to keep 90% of my wealth to do whatever I want to do with it and give the rest to God. I only have any wealth because of Him in the first place. It is ALL HIS. My house is His. My car is His. My 401(k) is His. My wife is His. My kids are His. MY LIFE IS HIS. I am not my own.
Did you read either of my last two posts? The Lord is after the preeminence in everything. This includes finances. If we stay so hung up on money, then that becomes our focus and not Him. He wants the preeminence. He is a jealous God. He can very well ruin your finances to draw you closer to Himself. I know that’s been my experience. Don’t let money drive your decisions. Abide in the Lord, and allow His life to be expressed.
And for heaven’s sake, stop tithing; don’t start stoning women. If you do one, then the law demands you do it all. You’re under Christ now. It’s all His – not just ten percent.
As brother Thomas would say, “Stay in the Vine folks, stay in the Vine.”
For more on Jesus and this new covenant, check out Hebrews 8-10.