When I wrote my last blog about tithing I purely conceived it as a little example simply of my own experiences of tithing and the outcome of my own heavenly guidance from the Lord regarding tithing. I did not expect it to be so controversial a topic as I view it as a personal decision for each Christian, based on their understanding of the Word and their own conviction on the subject.
I was grateful to receive lots of very interesting feedback from the blog and was very happy to leave it there. Then the Holy Spirit began convicting me to write a follow up to make a few more points, two to be exact. Of all the feedback I had there was one issue that I thought was important and it was this from a comment on my last blog:
“Jesus did not tell us to tithe. Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees they ought to tithe because they were under the Old Covenant law. Jesus was born, lived, and died under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant didn’t begin until after Jesus died on the cross.”
This was an interesting point but then a couple of things started to niggle at me.
Firstly, you could say the same thing about virtually everything Jesus is quoted as saying in the Gospels, ie. that it was said before the New Covenant began and so doesn’t apply to us under grace today.
But, Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfil it, so I view his statement about tithing as His taking an opportunity to confirm the principle.
Secondly, many times in the Gospels Jesus takes the opportunity to correct religious legalism, for example:
What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. (Matthew 15:11)
So we see Jesus challenges aspects of the law at some times, but on this issue it is confirmed (my emphasis):
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. (Matthew 23:23)
What I find so striking is that while many, many times Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for legalism, however in this verse (given to me in response to specific prayer asking for guidance on tithing), He takes the opportunity to reinforce a practice.