Search Results For "New Covenant Giving"

       In the Old Testament, the Israelites gave through their mandatory tithes and through their freewill offerings. But in Christ’s teaching and the New Testament, we see a much better example of giving that comes through grace, generosity, love, thankfulness, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. God no longer mandates an exact amount we should give, but He instead asks us to seek His will and follow His Spirit to decide how much we should give.

       The motivations for giving in the New Testament come purely from love for God, love for others, the grace God has given us, and our contentment and thankfulness in Christ. Tithing was an obligation for the Israelites as part of the Law. But Christ has fulfilled all the requirements and obligations of the Law for us – our salvation and righteousness no longer relies on our ability to keep the Law. Instead, we place all of our hope of salvation and holiness in the death and resurrection of Christ. This grace which God has afforded us calls for a lifestyle dominated not by the Old Testament Laws but by the Law of the Spirit of Grace. Just as Jesus taught the full intent and spirit of the Law, we no longer focus on the letter of the Law but on the intent and spirit of the law. It is in giving ourselves fully to God and the guidance of His Spirit that we will be able to reflect His nature to others.

Give Yourself to God First

       When Paul describes the generous giving of the church at Macedonia, he tells the Corinthians that they gave more than expected because they gave themselves to God first.

       1 Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia; 2 how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. 3 For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints. 5 This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (WEB)

       The Macedonian Christians gave generously, even though they were in deep poverty themselves, to help our those in Jerusalem who were suffering from a famine. Why would they do this? They were in need themselves, but they saw the excessive needs of others as more important than their own. This is not something humans would naturally do. Many people give out of their abundance, but few non-Christians give generously and joyously while they are themselves in poverty. It doesn’t make sense by worldly standards. This is not to say that God requires poor Christians to give when they can hardly meet their own needs – it just testifies to the power of God’s Holy Spirit that poor Christians can give generously and joyously despite their own needs.

       The believers at Macedonia were only able to give with such generosity and joy because they gave themselves to God first. They fully subjected their will to His will. They gave out of their love for God, love for others, and their contentment in Christ. Because their fulfillment came from Christ, they saw no affliction in their own poverty. The joy and love of Jesus compelled them to give even beyond what they were able – beyond what anyone could have expected of them. And they did it with pure joy and a strong, driven spirit.

       This type of generous giving can only come from God. When we find contentment in Christ, we no longer count material things as important. We can be satisfied with much less in this life so we can fully follow Jesus’ teaching of giving generously. We understand that what we have and own in this life have absolutely no value in eternity. We look at the example of Christ’s generous gift and are compelled by the Spirit to give in response. We submit ourselves to God’s will and give to meet the needs of others. This generous giving is a clear, outward sign of our love for God and dedication to His ways. And it’s a shining example of the extravagantly merciful and overflowing giving nature of God.

       Apart from God, we can only see our own needs and wants. We desire our own well-being first and foremost, and then we might give if we have some extra and feel guilty because of our relative wealth compared to those in need. We are primarily selfish creatures, and we are especially so when we find ourselves in need or want of something. Only when we come to God and give ourselves to Him can we put aside our selfishness and look to the needs of others instead. Apart from this submission to God’s love and will, we cannot duplicate the generosity of His true children who value Him above all else.

       The only way we can have this continually generous giving nature is to first give ourselves fully to God. Our lives cannot be governed by grace and mercy until we accept the gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Once we do that, we can begin to find our contentment in Him, develop and strengthen our love for God, and begin to give generously in response to Christ’s love and gift – no matter what our situation is…rich or poor. We won’t give grudgingly or out of compulsion by some requirement imposed by man. We’ll give out of pure joy and happiness in the Lord.

       If you want to learn more about New Covenant Giving – giving that is completely freewill, generous, joyful, and sacrificial – continue to check back here at Provident Planning. Or better yet, click here to get free updates in your email or favorite feed reader!

       I’ve written extensively about tithing in the bible, New Covenant giving, and New Covenant giving guidelines for Christians. Not too long ago, I wrote that tithing is so Old Testament. I explained that I don’t hate tithing, but I’m against teaching it because we have a much better example for giving in the life of Jesus Christ.

       But to make my point a little clearer on how New Covenant giving differs from Old Testament tithing, I thought it would be helpful to look at Jesus’ teaching. I’m going to divide this into two sections. First, we’ll look at what Jesus taught about tithing. Then, we’ll look at his other teaching on giving in general. This will be the verses only – no commentary.

What Jesus Taught about Tithing

       Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.

Matthew 23:23 (WEB)

       But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone.

Luke 11:42 (WEB)

       9 He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14 (WEB)

       And that’s it. That’s all Jesus said about tithing.

What Jesus Taught about Giving

       23 If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 5:23-24 (WEB)

       Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.

Matthew 5:42 (WEB)

       Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.

Luke 6:30 (WEB)

       35 …for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. 36 I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ 40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:35-40 (WEB)

       32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.

Luke 6:32-35 (WEB)

       But give for gifts to the needy those things which are within, and behold, all things will be clean to you.

Luke 11:41 (WEB)

       33 Sell that which you have, and give gifts to the needy. Make for yourselves purses which don’t grow old, a treasure in the heavens that doesn’t fail, where no thief approaches, neither moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12:33-34 (WEB)

       12 He also said to the one who had invited him, “When you make a dinner or a supper, don’t call your friends, nor your brothers, nor your kinsmen, nor rich neighbors, or perhaps they might also return the favor, and pay you back. 13 But when you make a feast, ask the poor, the maimed, the lame, or the blind; 14 and you will be blessed, because they don’t have the resources to repay you. For you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous.”

Luke 14:12-14 (WEB)

       In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Acts 20:35 (WEB)

       For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward.

Mark 9:41 (WEB)

       33 But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, 34 came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’

Luke 10:33-35 (WEB)

       1 He looked up, and saw the rich people who were putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 He saw a certain poor widow casting in two small brass coins. 3 He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them, 4 for all these put in gifts for God from their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, put in all that she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 (WEB)

       1 Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, 4 so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:1-4 (WEB)

       21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions. 23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter answered, “Behold, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.

Matthew 19:21-30 (WEB)

       21 Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.” 22 But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions. 23 Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, “Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus, looking at them, said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to tell him, “Behold, we have left all, and have followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, 30 but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last; and the last first.”

Mark 10:21-31 (WEB)

       22 When Jesus heard these things, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and distribute it to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was very rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he became very sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” 28 Peter said, “Look, we have left everything, and followed you.” 29 He said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, for the Kingdom of God’s sake, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life.”

Luke 18:22-30 (WEB)

Note: I didn’t include Luke 6:38 in this list because when I read it in context Jesus seems to be speaking about giving forgiveness and mercy rather than money.

       I’m seeing a pattern in Jesus’ teaching and it’s not tithing. I wonder why so many churches spend more time talking about tithing than Jesus did…

Are You Giving Sacrificially?

Corey —  April 2, 2010

       Does your giving require sacrifice on your part? Or are you only giving what is easy?

       I read a post at Free Money Finance a couple Sundays ago asking “Where Did All the Givers Go?“. In that post and a few of his others, FMF seems to criticize those who believe in “generous giving”, “cheerful giving”, or “grace giving” because the average Christian in America doesn’t give very much (2.6% of income). He sees a philosophy of “generous giving” or “New Covenant giving” as weak and an excuse to give less. He’s a proponent of tithing for Christians today.

       However, you should know by now that I don’t believe Christians are under the law of tithing. I believe in generous, sacrificial giving that models Christ’s life and sacrifice. If you’ve read my thoughts on the matter, you’ll realize it’s not an excuse to give less – even though I do believe you should be caring for your family’s needs first and paying what you owe.

       However, my beliefs about giving shouldn’t lead to giving less than 10% (especially in America). That’s because those beliefs about giving are closely tied to my beliefs about contentment in Christ. When Christ meets all of your needs, you find that you don’t need much in this life to be satisfied and happy. Your needs become very small. And that frees you to become extremely generous.

Sacrificial Giving

       When you begin to live in a way that values Christ and people above material wealth, you choose to make “sacrifices” in the world’s view. You don’t buy a large, extravagant house. You choose to drive an older vehicle. You don’t eat out all the time. You find alternatives to the typical entertainment options. You spend money thoughtfully and carefully – questioning the necessity of the item and seeking God’s will instead of mindlessly following our culture of materialism. You are no longer defined by what you buy. You are defined by who you live for and what you give.

       So my question for you is this: What are you sacrificing today in order to give more? Are you making conscious choices to question the lifestyle that the American culture teaches you to follow? Are you praying for God to guide you as you budget and spend the money He has blessed you with? Are you laying down your life to meet the needs of others?

       How are you following Jesus in your giving? It doesn’t matter if you’re giving 10%, 20%, or 3%. Considering what you have, how is your life reflecting the love of God? How is your budget testifying to the fact that Christ lives in you?

       If you can’t answer those questions, then now is the time for you to seek God’s will for your giving. I don’t care if you believe in tithing or generous giving. What you believe doesn’t matter when you answer those questions. What are you doing? How has your life been changed by the power of God’s Spirit working in you? How is that evident in your giving?

       Today, a reader named Melissa shared this comment on my summary of tithing in the Bible. (I’ve edited it a little for clarity, but I did not make any drastic changes.)

       “I have been a faithful ‘tither’ for years, raised by parents who were faithful tithers. And there has been something about ‘tithing’ that has always had this ‘check’ within me, even when I was adamant about ‘wanting to tithe’ and knowing ‘God’s promises’ about tithing. I began researching about tithing to basically find out where the 10% of all my gross income should be going. Let me tell you it has led down a completely different path!!!! It has led me closer and closer to who Jesus is: GRACE. Jesus IS grace personified. Grace presented giving over and over and over!!!!! I WAS a cheerful and faithful tither…now I will allow grace to lead me to be a cheerful and faithful giver!!!! I appreciate the revelation that the Holy Spirit has given you and others about giving from the heart and not tithing from a pocketbook. God is NOT about numbers!!!”

– Melissa

       In my response, I thanked Melissa for her comment because it’s exactly for people like her that I wrote those articles on tithing. You see, some people accuse me of being greedy, stingy, or just trying to make excuses not to give because of what I’ve written about tithing. Because I don’t teach tithing, they assume that I don’t want to give – or that if I do then I don’t want to do it generously.

       Nothing could be further from the truth! If anyone spends just a little bit more time reading what I’ve written about New Covenant giving and generosity, they’ll see that I am actually trying to teach us to be even more generous than what those who teach tithing demand.

       The difference is that I’m trying to point us to the ultimate example of giving: Jesus Christ. He is the full revelation of God’s will for us in all things, including giving. And while looking at Him and trying to follow Him, no one will be making excuses not to give. You can’t help but want to give to those in need in response to His grace, mercy, and generosity.

       We don’t need demands and obligations and curses to urge us to give if we will only look to Jesus and follow His example. Those who follow Jesus and abide in Him will have such overflowing love for God and others that you won’t be able to hold back their generosity. You don’t need to tell them to give 10% or be cursed and you don’t need to promise them riches and blessings to get them to give. They want to give because they have God’s love living in them!

       This is the real purpose of my articles about tithing. It’s not to excuse us from giving. It’s not to find a way to give less. And it’s not to destroy churches and make them go bankrupt (yes, I’ve been accused of that). The real purpose of these articles is to open our eyes to the truth about giving. And that truth is found only in Jesus Christ – not in the Law.

       I want people to see that tithing as it is taught today is far from Biblically accurate. I want them to understand the grace we have received from and in Jesus. I want them to experience both the freedom and the joy that comes from giving with a pure heart motivated by love for God and love for others. I want them to get past this letter of the Law stuff and focus on the Spirit. It’s about a transformation of going from “What’s the least I must do to fulfill my obligation to God?” to “How can I more fully express my love for God and for people? How can I please and serve God completely?”. I want us to let go of the shadow and take hold of the the One who came. I want us to let Jesus be our example for giving and fully follow in His steps.

       I pray that all who read what I’ve written about tithing will realize that it’s not just about arguing over words and trying to make excuses or justify ourselves. My goal is not to cause more division, strife, or arguing, but to open our eyes to the truth in Scripture and gain a fuller understanding of what Christ did for us, what He wants us to do, and how we can start living that out. I will try my best to be clear about those things, but it doesn’t always come through.

       So just know that when you read something I’ve written about tithing it’s not so we can keep more for ourselves. It’s so we can let go of the shadow, cling to Jesus, and be free to experience the relentless, irrational generosity that God has for us and to begin sharing that with others.

       On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chuck Bentley, the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, about his upcoming book The Root of Riches: What If Everything You Think about Money Is Wrong?. The book will be released in the next week or so, but if you’d like to get a 20% discount you can go to and sign up to pre-order the book and get a free sample chapter.

       I had the chance to read the book before the interview and I highly recommend it to all of you. Chuck does a good job of getting to the heart of our issues with money by highlighting how being rooted in Christ is the only way to receive true riches. The interview below will give you a good overview of the central ideas in the book and help you determine if it’s something you’d want to read.

       I’ve included the audio here which you can listen to on the website or download for later. I’ve also transcribed the interview for those of you who prefer to read. I’d be interested in your feedback on how well you liked this because it’s the first time I’ve tried doing an interview/podcast. (I was quite pleased with how my intro and outro music turned out!) Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page, and if you have any questions I’ll do my best to answer them.

Download the audio by right-clicking here and choosing “Save as…”.
Credits: intro and outro music for the audio is from “Bucolique Utopique” by David on Jamendo

Note: I was not paid anything to post this interview. I only agreed to it after reading the book because I believed Chuck’s message in The Root of Riches is excellent and needs to become more prominent in Christian personal finance.

Continue Reading…

Tithing Is So Old Testament

Corey —  March 30, 2010

       If you’ve read my articles on tithing, you might begin to think that I hate tithing. (In fact, I almost titled this article “I Don’t Hate Tithing”.) Or maybe you think I’m just stingy. Although that conclusion would be difficult to reach after reading my thoughts about New Covenant giving. But the truth is there’s a deeper reason behind why I teach against tithing as a giving standard for Christians.

       Tithing is the Old Testament example and standard for giving. It was part of the Law of Moses given specifically to the Israelites through the Old Covenant. But Christians today are no longer under that covenant. We’re under the New Covenant. And you see an interesting trend when you look at what the early Christians were taught about giving.

       Keeping in mind that the New Covenant began after Jesus’ death on the cross, consider the teaching you find in the New Testament about giving. Can you find any passages where tithing is used as the example that Christians should follow for giving? I’ll wait while you look.

       I can already tell you that you won’t find any. I know because I’ve looked. I’ve searched long and hard to find all the verses in the Bible that talk about personal finance. And you know what I’ve found in the New Testament about giving? The only example ever used to explain how much Christians should give is Jesus. Not tithing, not the Old Testament offerings – only the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

       That’s a significant statement. We’re supposed to give like Jesus did?! That sounds so difficult. How can I ever be that generous? How do I even calculate that for my budget??? But He is our example for giving as Christians who want to honor God. No, it’s not as easy to figure out as 10% of your income, but there are some general giving guidelines we can glean from the New Testament. New Covenant giving requires a deep, intimate relationship with God and demands that you spend time in His Word and in prayer seeking His will.

       Recently, I did a personal finance Bible study at my church for our winter Sunday school elective. When we started talking about tithing and giving, one person brought up the statistic that Christians only give about 2-3% on average. I also brought up the fact that only about 6% of Christians tithe to their churches (though about 27% of evangelical Christians give at least 10% of their income to charities). With statistics like that, why would I even try to teach something beyond giving 10%? We can’t even get to a tithing standard. How can I expect Christians to give generously and sacrificially???

       But I think that’s our first mistake. We think that by teaching tithing we’re giving Christians a simple, straightforward guideline that they can follow for their giving. It’s clearly taught in the Old Testament and even comes with curses and blessings. Surely that will motivate people to give generously. And that’s the problem.

       The reason I teach so strongly against tithing is because we have a much greater example and motivation for giving. Tithing never suffered for us. Tithing did not die for our sins. Tithing will not grant us eternal life. Tithing does not love us.

       But Jesus did suffer and die for our sins. Jesus will give us eternal life with God in Heaven. Jesus does love us – extravagantly, generously, sacrificially – even to the point of death!

       Brothers and sisters, why would we choose to continue using a lesser, weaker example for giving? We wonder why no one is motivated to tithe. Why don’t we teach giving based on Jesus’ life and sacrifice? How can our response to His gift be anything other than love, which will then produce generous, sacrificial giving in us? We can dismiss tithing and come up with excuses why we can’t afford it right now. But we cannot dismiss the gift of Jesus – the gift of His death for our sins so that we can have eternal life. The Holy Spirit will compel us to give if He is our focus.

       So if you wonder why I teach against tithing, that’s it. I don’t care if you disagree with my thoughts about why tithing no longer applies to Christians. I’m not here to debate the Law versus Faith (or Grace) ideas with you. But can’t we agree that teaching a giving standard based on Jesus’ gift to us will result in more generous, more sacrificial, and more cheerful Christian givers than teaching based on tithing? Let me know in the comments.

       Supporters of tithing as a requirement for Christians love to point to Malachi 3:10 for proof of why we should tithe. The most common argument is that this is the only place in the Bible where God tells His people to test Him. I’ve already discussed tithing in the Bible, but let’s look specifically at this idea. There are three major problems with claiming that we should tithe because God told us to test Him in it:

  1. We are no longer under the blessings or the curses of the Law.

  3. The entire Law of Moses was worded as a test for the Israelites.

  5. Tithing alone was never enough to guarantee blessings from God.

No Longer Under the Law

       Christians are under the New Covenant, and our righteousness comes from the blood of Christ – not our ability to keep all of the Law. To throw ourselves back under the Law – even just the law of tithing – requires us to completely turn away from the imputed righteousness we claim in Christ. If we’re going to say that we are either blessed or cursed based on our giving, we’re saying that Christ died for nothing. We are no longer under the curse of the Law because Jesus has taken that curse for us. And we are not blessed because we tithe – we are blessed because we have received eternal life through the blood of Jesus.

       Taking Old Testament commands and saying that they still apply to Christians, along with the blessings and curses attached with those commands, is to completely ignore the necessity of Christ’s death. His death broke the hold of the Law over our lives. We are no longer judged according to our ability to keep the Law. We are judged according to Jesus’ ability to keep the Law and our acceptance of His sacrifice.

The Whole Law Was a Test

       The Hebrew word for “prove” in Malachi 3:10 is the only place in the Bible where that particular word is used by God to tell people to “test” Him. But almost every aspect of the Law was worded as a test to the Israelites. God told the Israelites if they would keep all of His commandments, then He would bless them. That’s a test. He also told them that if they didn’t keep all of His commandments, then He would curse them. That’s a test. God is saying if you do (or don’t do this), then I promise I will do this.

       To simply look for the word “test” in the whole Bible, only find it in Malachi 3:10, and then conclude that Christians should tithe because that’s the only thing God told us to test Him in is to ignore the context of the entire rest of the Law! It doesn’t matter if a particular word was used in Malachi 3:10 in a certain way and never used anywhere else in that way. God gave almost all of His Law to the Israelites in the form of a test and told them to do it. So Malachi 3:10 isn’t truly the only time God told His people to test His promises (either to bless or curse).

Tithing Alone Will Not Bring Blessings

       The final problem with this approach to Malachi 3:10 is that it assumes all you have to do is tithe and God is required to bless you. This was never true for the Israelites, the people this command was written for. They were required to keep the whole Law if they wanted to receive God’s blessings. If they broke even one part of the Law, God told them He would curse them. This false interpretation of Malachi 3:10 as a promise of God’s blessings if you tithe completely ignores Biblical truth.

       Was God promising to bless sinners and non-believers who only obey Him in regards to tithing? Was God promising to bless unrepentant Christians if they tithe? How can we look at this one verse as a simple “you do this one thing and I (God) will bless you abundantly”? How does that understanding mesh with the rest of Scripture? James made it clear that this is not the case in James 2:10, and Paul even quoted Deuteronomy 27:16 to show that you are cursed if you don’t keep the entire Law.

Better Giving Principles

       It’s clear that despite Malachi 3:10 being the only place God says to test Him we are not called to tithe as Christians. Under the New Covenant, we have much better and much more demanding principles for giving. I encourage you to read more about New Covenant giving guidelines if you want your giving to be founded on Scripture.