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Modern Day Pharisees
One of our viewers wants to know: Are Tithers Like Modern-Day Pharisees?
There are some Christians who act like modern-day Pharisees when it comes to paying tithes.
So, who were the Pharisees?
They were Jewish religious leaders who were in conflict with Jesus and his teachings. Unlike Jesus, they believed the only way to God was by keeping the Law of Moses. They believed that following the legalistic traditions, rules and rituals of the Law was the path to righteousness, and Jesus condemned them for that belief.
Matthew 23:13 (NIV)
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
Because they followed the Law or performed these legalistic works they developed a self-righteous attitude. They thought they were better and holier than other people.
Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
What does this have to do with tithers? Some tithers share at least two characteristics they share with Pharisees.
1. They Believe Paying Tithes Makes You Right With God
Some Christians think paying tithes is what pleases God. In addition, they think paying tithes can “make-up” for any wrongdoing in their life. The attitude is this: “Even though I don’t do A, B or C, at least I pay my tithes.” This a Pharisee mentality, and Jesus rebuked that way of thinking.
Matthew 23:23 (NIV)
23 “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.
In this case, no amount of tithing will do you any good when you are not following the tenets of the Christian faith.
2. They Are Offended and Angered By the Truth
When some Christians are told the modern-day tithe of paying 10 percent of your income to the church is a false doctrine, they get angry; they’re offended. They will go out of their way to defend their man-made tradition. And that’s the way the Pharisees behaved when Jesus rebuked them.
Jesus was pointing out the error of their ways. He knew what the Pharisees believed and taught was moving people away from God. Meanwhile the ministry of Jesus was focused on bringing people into closer relationship with God.
Tithers don’t understand that tithing is in contradiction to what God wants them to do, which is to give voluntarily according the Spirit. As a result, they are undermining their relationship with God – just like the Pharisees.
Are Tithers Like Modern-Day Pharisees?
In some cases, yes.
Any Christian who believes the following is like a modern day Pharisee:
• Thinks tithing pleases God,
• Thinks tithing makes them a better Christian; or
• Thinks paying tithes makes amends for their short-comings
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