In our study of New Covenant Giving principles, we’ve examined giving yourself to God first, giving in response to Jesus’ gift, and giving with sincere desire and love. Today, we’re going to talk about giving under grace – not commandment. New Covenant Giving is based on the desire to give and love produced by the Holy Spirit. This grace of giving is superior to the Old Testament requirements of tithing because we are taught directly by the Holy Spirit how we should give – not by the requirements of the Law.
Give According to the Spirit’s Leading
In his instructions on giving to the Corinthian church, Paul makes it clear that he is not asking them to give because of the Old Testament requirements of tithing. He explicitly states that he is not encouraging them to give by way of a commandment. Instead, he appeals to the service of love, which comes from the Holy Spirit.
I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love.
2 Corinthians 8:8 (WEB)
Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (WEB)
It’s clear that there is not even a hint of a commandment, requirement, compulsion, or demand in Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to give to help the poor. We are no longer giving under the Law of Moses but under the Law of Grace. It is God’s Spirit working in us that compels us to give generously to help each other as He directs our heats. The law of tithing is not found in the New Covenant Giving principles.
The Law imposed tithing as a divine requirement. But Christian giving is completely voluntary. It’s a test of sincerity and love. When we fully understand, accept, and build our hope upon the Good News of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves overcome with love for God. And our love for God leads us to follow His command to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love freely gives whatever is needed. Love doesn’t need a command telling it to give a specific percentage of it’s income. Love wants to give. Love needs to give. It is love’s nature to give. It cannot do otherwise.
Under the grace of the New Covenant, God is not seeking the gift of your money. What He’s looking for is an expression of your total devotion to Him and His Ways. He cares for the poor, and when His Spirit dwells in you then you’ll care for the poor just as He does. Your giving is proof of the same love, concern, and compassion that God has for the needy.
That’s why the principles of New Covenant Giving are so much better than the Old Testament system of tithing. New Covenant Giving is not bound by percentages. New Covenant Giving is not proof of your adherence to the Law – it’s proof that God’s love dwells in you. New Covenant Giving is free to be extravagantly generous, just as God has generously given us Christ. Can you imagine how generous Christians would be if they based their giving on the love that gave us Jesus even while we were rejecting that same love?
Under the New Covenant, we obey God because He has made us a new creation in Christ. We no longer follow our sinful nature. We follow the nature of Christ. We are no longer taught by commandments and laws – the Holy Spirit teaches us how to live. We don’t need to be told to give 10% or any set amount because God has given us a nature of generosity. His Spirit teaches each one of us how we should give. The Holy Spirit leads our hearts to decide what is right to give, and then we give it joyfully and cheerfully – not out of guilt, or compulsion, or requirement.
We have a higher responsibility than making sure we give 10% of our income. We are called to follow the Holy Spirit in our giving – as in all other areas of our Christian life. Instead of trying to follow legalistic rules, seek the counsel of God’s Spirit in deciding how much you should give. Then give as you have decided, willingly and cheerfully, and experience the grace of giving as we are taught under the New Covenant.