Most of us are familiar with the first ten points of the Mosaic Law – The Ten Commandments. The remaining 603 laws are broken down into several groups applicable to distinct sections of the Jewish people such as laws for the judges, laws for the priests and so forth. The question is: why the Law?
Why was the Law – engraved on stones – given in the first place? Many would say in order to establish a moral compass for society. That’s a workable answer but not the correct answer. Some would say to provide for a sense of order and safety; to provide for civility and legitimacy of the society. That too is a workable answer but again not correct. So why THE LAW?
At the time of Moses; stepping back to Joseph, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, Enoch and finally Adam there was no rule of order. Sin had not been defined beyond “don’t eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” There was no law about lying, stealing, murdering, spitting on the sidewalk, driving on the correct side of the road or conceding to any indicator of normalcy. Basically, life then was a free-for-all an if-it-feels-good-then-do-it life. There was no consideration for another person or property.
So, the LAW. The sole purpose of the LAW of Moses was to bring attention to mankind that its behavior was unacceptable. The Law was designed to raise man’s awareness that he could not live and expect the human race to continue without the intervention of a Savior – Jesus the Christ. The Law was never given with the expectation that ANY man, woman or child could or would ever be able to keep all points of the law for one’s entire life. The Jews tried. They did so by dissecting the law into seemingly manageable pieces; hence the 613 points of the Law. And beyond those points they had developed such a myriad of codes, ordinances and regulations to further compartmentalize the Law more with the intent of creating loopholes through the law in an attempt to obey the law or at least circumvent the Law.
The result actually had the reverse effect. Instead of making it easier to obey the LAW, all the laws, codes, ordinances and regulations only frustrated the people and created a society of lawbreakers. (Sound familiar?) So when Jesus became man, he proved every point of the Mosaic Law. He fulfilled each point. Now, I haven’t done the study, yet, but, I would expect to learn that every word spoken, every action done by Jesus the Christ one by one addressed every point of that Mosaic Law thus fulfilling the Law at every point, achieving the impossible amongst men.
Notice, too, the Law can only address one point at a time yet failing to keep just one point of the Law you became guilty of the entire Law. Under the Law one can only from moment to moment only know in part. That in mind, every word or act performed prior to the cross, at best was only a foreshadow of things to come after the cross. Put it this way, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. Since the cross, where we once knew in part as a shadow, now we know as we are known.
What I am getting at is all the rites and ordinances of the Old Testament are fulfilled as we come into the Law of Grace and Truth. Here is my conflict: do we tithe in the New Testament? We see that Abraham delivered the tithe to Melchizedek. And, Abraham was 470 some years before the Law of Moses; God counted righteousness to Abraham because he by faith believed God. Yet, even though the LAW had not yet been given, man was not exempt from it even though he could not be condemned by it, yet. Man at best could only have a glimpse of the Promise to come – Jesus – only knowing and then only acting in part until the finished work of Jesus the Christ on the cross.
As much as the Law succeeded in developing the need for a Savior, no man was capable of fulfilling the Law of Sin and Death before the cross. Since the cross, as one, by that measure of faith given to all men (at conception), believe that Jesus is the Christ, one becomes a new creation in Christ with Jesus. The law of Grace and Truth is written on ones heart and put in ones mind. That person becomes, like Jesus, a living sacrifice unto God which is ones reasonable service. So, again, as a New testament believer, do we tithe in the same fashion as Abraham? I say NO! That said, under the Law of Grace and Truth in similitude to Jesus, we lay ALL that we are on the altar; our body, our earnings, our wealth, our health, our spouse, our children, our marriage, our ministry, our cars, house, business, our giftings, talents and skills. We lay all of that on the altar, not a mere 10 percent but all of it. Now, can “WE” possibly do that? Absolutely not! Is that our goal and desire? Yes! But you know what, until we am perfected at the rapture or resurrection our kindred brother Jesus stepped in and did it all for us. That is GRACE.
Now, am I absolved from rendering any tribute? Again, NO! Galatians 6:6 instructs me that if I am taught in the Word and I receive revelation from that teaching, I am obligated to pay the person who delivered that teaching not for my benefit but so I can send that person to another place to teach the same Word. And again for my benefit. Here’s how. The entire counsel of God already resides within me, my heart and my mind. I unlock that revelation of the teaching in my heart and mind by investing my resources to receive that teaching. Suppose I found a piece of software on the internet that precisely meets a particular need in the conduct of my business. I can download the software and even install it. I may even be able to use some of the functions of the software for a limited time. But once I pay the license fee to obtain the KEY that unlocks the software I gain full use of that software for the life of that license. The same is true pertaining to being taught the Word of God. I can sit and listen to 24 hours of prime teaching, but until I pay for the license – pay the teacher, that Word will sit idle in my heart incapable of fulfilling the purpose for which it was intended.
What brings this tirade about? I was born again in November 1971. I married my lovely wife in December 1978. We have five wonderful sons a few daughters-in-law and nearly a dozen grandchildren. I have the house and cars – the basic American Dream stuff even though most of what I have is in need of some level of repair or completion or replacement. We have not been wealthy financially across all these years and it has frustrated my wife and I that we just can seem to “get ahead” when other less likely persons seem to just fall into all fashions of wealth. We are going through one of those episodes right now. So I sought the Lord for clarification and direction. The above is the clarification. Here is the direction.
We have all heard of those impossible success stories that as soon as this couple began giving to this or that ministry their lives turned around. The rags-to-riches story. And I do not question that it happens; but why not to me? By definition, I am by no means a “faithful tither” mostly because by the rhetorical definition of tithing there is no one place that feeds my spiritual need. We do give a lot of offerings, especially to our favorite TV teachers (whom we have met in person, got the hand shakes, pictures and the autographed books) And more recently we have entered the ministry as overseas missionaries to Africa. So we give a lot of our time and money to the work of the Lord, yet we still struggle financially.
But, that ends today! As the Holy Spirit has revealed in my heart, I have failed to activate all the revelatory teaching I have been receiving all these years. I have failed to “pay the man for services rendered.” It’s like I went to Cracker Barrel for lunch, ordered a nice meal, stuffed myself cleaning the plates and then walking out on the bill, even forsaking the server of her due tip. Or even worse, I could drive up to Burger King, order the number 1 – Larged, and go pay for it at McDonald’s. How’d that work out for me? So here is what I must do. I must establish a value of the teaching I receive. Nominally, I receive an hours worth of absolutely great teaching each morning; I attend at least one convention or meeting a year with up to 30 hours of teaching. Once I determine a per hour price, then I establish a flexible budget and begin paying for services, unlocking the revelations in my heart and allowing the Word to work out my Salvation in my life which includes everything good from the Lord.
This has been taught the other way. That when you give the tithe you wrap it with your dreams, hopes and desires with the thought that you are planting those prayers in the good soil of that ministry they are bound to flourish. You are the good soil, the Word is the seed that is waiting to be planted in your good soil. The payment for services is the ignition that brings the past dreams, hopes and desires in to the NOW realm. The payment is key that unlocks the soft “ware” of the Word in your heart.
This changes how I do ministry. From now on, when I go minister I will ask that a basket be placed up front where I will be teaching with the instruction to the people that if they hear anything that brings revelation to them in the Word of God then to come forward and make a payment – release that revelation in their hearts – put that revelation in to action. That is how I will fund the trip to the next church. That puts the burden on me to speak the Word of God. If I don’t I don’t get paid and I go home. If I don’t I am a charlatan of a hypocrite.