Selfish Or Generous Toward Saints

August 17, 2013

Friends,
When we read 2 Cor. chapters 8 & 9 it is clear that the church as a whole has completely misled everyone as to what the Word of God really teaches in regards to giving.  Most of the church teaches that the tithe is still the rule and that this tithe means that a tenth of one’s gross income is to be put into the treasury of each person’s church so that it can be distributed as the leaders decree it, meaning that most of it goes to the pastor.  This custom, however, is men’s rule, not God’s.

By reading God’s Word we can see that the tithe was only for the Hebrews while they were under the Old Mosaic Law and customs.  That Law is over.  It has been nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14), and thus, through Christ, we have died to it.  (Rom. 7:6)  Now “we serve [God and others] in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”  (same verse)  As 1 Peter 1:18 says, “You were redeemed [–“with the precious blood of Christ” –v. 19] from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers.”  Therefore anyone who tries to inflict a tithe on the flock is trying to turn them away from Christ’s rule and back under Law’s rule –which is death.  (Rom. 6:14 & 7:9-11 // Gal. 5:4)

So, now that we are not under law but under the control of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6 & 8:9), are we to toss aside acts of giving?  Of course not.  We are to be even more generous, and not only with our money, but with our time, our love, our forgiveness, our concern, our aid, and our whole selves.  By being born anew we have died to sin, Law, and Self (Rom. 6:1-8), and by remaining under Christ’s constant rulership we reject these completely / totally / fully.  (7:4 // 1 Peter 4:1,2)

Everything we do, say, and think is to be at the Lord’s command and under His Spirit’s influence and power.  (2 Cor. 5:15 // Gal. 2:20)  Sin in us has been condemned (Rom. 8:3) “in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us…”  (v. 4)  These requirements are those of God’s moral law, not of the Mosaic law, and they are met through the New Law which we abide in under the New Covenant — which is, namely, that we believe in the Name of Christ Jesus and love one another as He has commanded us.  (1 John 3:23)  All that the Law and the Prophets taught are also summed up in “the Royal Law of Love” (see Ja. 2:8) –that of loving God with all one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself.  (Mt. 22:37-40 // Gal. 5:14)  “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  (Rom. 13:10)

But, are most “Christians” fulfilling this Law of Love?  Far from it.  Instead of being other-focused, they are self-focused.  One very easy way that this is revealed is how they give, or rather the lack of it.  If they do give, it is often done with wrong motives –to get in favor with God or the pastor or those who see them give.  In other words, they give to the church, a charity, or a ministry, so as to boost their own prestige or their own gain.  Besides this, they often refuse to give unless they get a tax-deductible receipt so that, because the government returns a large portion to them, they are, in actuality, sacrificing a lot less than they are pretending.  But is God fooled?  And is He impressed?

2 Cor. chapters 8 & 9 teach us to give sacrificially –as Christ Jesus did for us.  (8:9)  This does not mean that we are to give foolishly, or to “give to get”, or to give to those who who live selfishly or lavishly.  Who are we to give to?  We are to give to THE SAINTS.  When did this come to mean only those who are ordained preachers?  When did this come to mean giving only to one’s own church?  These two chapters, plus several other places in the New Testament make it very clear that the believers in one area were giving to the believers in another area –so that those in poverty might be relieved (8:13-15) and so that the saints would have all they needed to “abound in every good work.”  (9:8)  Moreover it was to be given so as to supply the needs of… –who?  –God’s people.  (v. 12)  Are God’s people only those who are pastors or who serve in a church building or a tax-deductible ministry?  No, God’s people are those who love, fear, and serve God obediently in whatever way He has commanded them.  Therefore other believers should be giving to these people their time, attention, love, encouragement, service, assistance, money, or whatever else they can in order to allow God to further His work through His holy servants, and especially to those servants who are needy.

Is a certain amount of these gifts commanded?  No.  There is no mention of 10% of one’s time, money, etc.  What is mentioned is “rich generosity” (2 Cor. 8:2), “the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (v. 4), and giving eagerly and gladly in accordance with what one has.  (v. 11,12 & 9:7)

However, if someone has plenty, continues to pile up for himself, and does not give to God’s people who minister in good works, then there is a warning for them along with the encouragement for those who are unselfish and generous.  It is 2 Cor. 9:6:  “Remember this:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”  And Jesus says just about the same thing in Luke 6:38.

Why then, we ask, are church-goers so bewildered as to why they, and their selfish children (who are now self-centered adults) are reaping chaos, misery, and ruin?  Did any of them bother to make it their practice to give generously, eagerly, lovingly, and sacrificially to those who were spending their lives, day after day, for the glory of Christ?  Did they joyfully give as unto Christ –even if they knew they were not going to receive a tax-deduction or any recognition from men?

Did they?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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