MANY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE tithing and faith go hand-in-hand. There is a common belief that tithing is a way of showing that you have faith in God. And there are those who take this belief to an extreme. Some believers go as far as to tithe money they know they can not afford because they believe God will bless them because they tithed in faith.
Meet Faithful Felicia
Faithful Felicia follows a preacher who says things like:
“Pay God His 10 percent. If you don’t have it, don’t worry about it. Just step out on faith and God will bless you with a financial miracle.”
Faithful Felicia is a single mother with two children. She brings home $2,000 a month. Following her preacher’s instructions she takes 10 percent of her monthly income ($200) and puts it in the church collection plate each month. In the meantime, she does not have enough money to pay her mortgage. Nevertheless, she keeps tithing in the name of faith while waiting for a financial miracle. Unfortunately the miracle does not come, and Faithful Felicia falls further behind in her mortgage payments and is on the verge of losing her home.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that God is not a provider because the Most High does provider for our needs (and wants). Financial miracles do take place. And we should have faith in God. Although Faithful Felicia is a fictitious character there are Christians who are in similar situations like Felicia. I am using the story to illustrate the consequences of combining so-called tithing with the concept of faith.
Are You Living By Faith or The Law?
Read Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Pay particular attention to Chapter 3. The context of the letter is that there were teachers coming among the Galatians telling them they must become Jews before becoming Christians. In other words, they were being told that they must follow the Law (or Mosaic Law, Law of Moses) to become Christians. Paul denounces this doctrine.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, [it is] evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them (KJV).
Paul states “the law is not of faith.” He is referencing the Mosaic Law. He stresses the fact that following the Mosaic Law is neither a requirement for becoming a Christian nor is following the Law part of the Christian faith.
Keep in mind that tithing is a part of the Mosaic Law. When Christians incorporate tithing into their faith they are placing themselves under the authority of the Law.
From Paul’s perspective you either live by faith or you live by the Law. And, according to Paul, once you accept the faith and live by faith there is no need for the Law.
Tithing Is Not an Act of Faith
Now before faith came we were held in custody under the law, being kept as prisoners until the coming faith would be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law (NIV).
The Apostle Paul is saying that there was no knowledge of faith until Christi came. Once Christ came they embraced faith. The Mosaic Law was not based upon the concept of faith. Furthermore, ancient Israel did not view or consider tithing as an act of faith.
He also emphasizes that faith in Christ replaced the works of the Law. And those who follow the Mosaic Law are living by the Law – and not by faith. He is reminding the Galatians that Christians live by faith.
Embrace the Faith
Believers like Faithful Felicia have good intentions but their faith is misplaced. What they do not realize is that when they pay so-called tithes they are placing their faith in the act of tithing and the Mosaic Law. Nowhere in the New Testament are Christian instructed to tithe, to tithe in faith or to tithe as an act of faith.
Ancient Israel paid tithes because that is what their covenant (Mosaic Law) required. Under the Old Testament ancient Israel follows the Law of Moses. Under the New Testament Christians follow Christ. While following Christ requires faith it does not require tithes.