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Tithing - Who has bewitched you?

written by Ebenezer Temitope Igunnu

The deception in many Christian churches today is alarming but I recently got a clue to why there is such a great debate about tithing. I found that many professing Christians do not know the essence of Christ's death. Many of our brothers and sisters behave like the Galatians that Paul had to ask them " who has bewitched you?." While I agree that many have become lazy in studying the bible, I believe some are reading it but without understanding and they go to a brother who claims to be a pastor, that one in turn deceives them because he too lacks understanding of the truth. Abraham was the first man to pay 10% of his spoil of war to Melchizedek ( and for almost 1000 years after that there was no record of anyone paying tithe until tithe became a law in the days of Moses. Tithes of crops were to be paid to the levities, another tithe was to be paid for the widows, poor and orphans and then there was another one the payer should eat in the presence of God. Tithing under the law came with a promise and in the book of Malachi Israelites were reminded of missing out on the promise because they refused to pay. The death and resurrection of Jesus brought the new covenant. Under the new covenant the blessings of God was not limited to the Jews. It is now available to the gentiles. In the new covenant the law was fulfilled in Christ and all we need to do is believe in Jesus and he gives us the HolySpirit. Our salvation comes by grace through faith. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - Ephesians 2: 8 In the days of the apostles, some Jewish groups appeared preaching that no gentile (non -Jew) can be saved without obeying the laws of God given through Moses. The biggest challenge to gentile believers then was circumcision. Many of the gentile brothers ask " How can we be circumcised now that we have become old? Does it mean that God would reject us simply because we have not been circumcised?" There was a council of the apostles in Jerusalem where they issued statements to all churches that circumcision is not a requirement to enter into the new covenant. However the teaching of these Jewish groups continued to cast doubt on the minds of both the gentile Christians and the Jewish Christians. Some of Paul's letter were written to address this false doctrine propagated by these Jewish groups. Paul refereed to their teaching as " other gospel." The writer of the book of Hebrew adressed the fears of the Jews.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! - Galatians 1: 8 - 9 Such was the effect of this group that even Peter had to pretend when he met his Jewish brethren and Paul rebuked Peter for not living what he has been preaching When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. - Galatians 2: 11- 13 Some non-Christians use this verse to propagate yet another heresy that Paul and Peter preached different gospels. However the other gospel Paul refer to was those who preach that without the observance of the law you cannot fully please God. You would observe that because Peter pretended Paul noted that even Barnabas was led astray. Unfortunately that teaching still resonates today in many Christian churches. Men still preach that if you do not obey the law of tithing you cannot receive certain blessings from God. But these people have only been led astray like Barnabas was by the attitude of Peter at Antioch. The fact is that if any man is in Christ, he is because he believes not because he has fulfilled some laws. The teaching of tithing is absurd because in Christ three things were removed that were in the law: sacrifice, temple and the levitical priesthood. Jesus became the sacrifice, our individual bodies became the temple of the Holy Spirit and collectively as a church we are the temple of God. Every believer is a priest unto God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, sons and daughters of God. Yes we can have leaders but like Jesus taught before his death the leader must be the servant of his brethren. You would notice that all the apostles when they wrote to other believers addressed themselves as brothers or fellow partaker in the the grace of God. In the new covenant (testament), we give not because we are under the law ( as compulsion ) but we give out of love. We give not because we expect a reward but we give because we are moved to give. We give as to a family of which we are members not as to a Priest who is required by law to collect. The brother who gives 30% of his income for the need of the church is not better than the brother who gives 3% nor is the brother who gives 10% better. This is the new testament teaching. This is the teaching in the gospel of Christ.

If any man, even if He is angel teaches otherwise ( of course many teach otherwise) he is only teaching the " other gospel " that Paul refereed to in the passages above. I know many covet the blessing attached to tithing under the law but all of the blessings under the law are available to you in Christ. And I join Paul to ask my Christian brothers and sisters who are still living in the fear of man that they are cursed because they have not giving 10% of their income, who has bewitched you!?