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In the 21st century church, the topic of tithing can bring great controversy. I have personally heard a lot of debate over whether or not tithing is relevant for us today. This controversy leaves us all questioning “Is tithing necessary?”
If you are reading this article, I think it is safe to say that you are probably a Christian who is looking to honor God in every area of your life. Though let’s be honest, part of you is might actually be wondering “Do I have to tithe?” Well, let’s dive in to find out: Is Tithing Necessary?
What is Tithing?
There tend to be some misconceptions about what tithing is. So let’s start by clearing those up by looking at the definition of tithing. In Hebrew, a tithe means ‘one-tenth part of something.’
Traditionally, tithing meant to give one-tenth of one’s annual produce or earnings. It was used as a contribution or a sort of tax in order to support the Church. The church had more power over citizens back then than it does today.
Today, however, tithing tends to get swapped with the word offering. Though the two words are very similar, they are not exactly one and the same. A tithe was used as an offering, but it specifically means one-tenth of something.
We now know what tithing is; but how can we apply this to us in the 21st century. Do we need still need to tithe?
Is Tithing Necessary?
So is tithing necessary for Christians today?
The tithes required by the Israelites were a part of the Mosaic Law. Jesus became the fulfillment of the law when he died on the cross. So therefore, the law to tithe was technically ended with Jesus’ death on the cross.
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17 NIV
We No Longer Need to Tithe in Order to Gain the Grace of God
Through our faith in Jesus, we receive God’s grace and forgiveness. And it is through that grace by faith that we are reconciled with God.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
The commands given in the Mosaic covenant are no longer in force for believers. Therefore, tithing is not necessary for us to gain salvation or God’s forgiveness.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. Ephesians 2:14-16
Now that we have discovered that tithing is not technically necessary, why do all of our churches keep telling us to give?
What Does Jesus Say About Tithing?
When we think of the word tithe in the Bible, most of us think about the Old Testament. However, tithing does get discussed many times in the New Testament as well. We even see Jesus talking about tithing.
Some argue that Jesus did talk about tithing and therefore it is still necessary for Christians to tithe today. But technically this was before the New Covenant was made through his death and resurrection.
However, it is clear that Jesus still values giving. There are plenty of Bible verses that talk about giving that makes it evident that it is an important part of our journey as Christians.
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
Even though through the New Covenant we are not required to do any work in order to gain salvation, Jesus still highly values works as a means to worship. They show how we have been transformed into a new creation.
Some of the works that Jesus values include, but are not limited to, going to church, reading our Bibles, giving, fasting, serving, and caring for the poor, widows, those in prison, etc.
Being Transformed by the Gospel
As Christians, we should be transformed by the Gospel. Our transformation should lead towards these works as an act of worship to our God. The Holy Spirit will lead us to do great things for the Kingdom. It is crucial that we integrate these disciplines into our daily lives. Through them, others will see our transformation.
We can show our faith in God by giving to our churches, ministries, and nonprofits. This is one of many ways that we can honor God with our money.
But we do need to be careful. We need to check where our hearts are at before we decide to give an offering. Are our offerings truly an act of worship? Or are they merely out of a sense of obligation?
But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. Luke 11:42
Jesus is telling the Pharisees that they should be giving but they really should be doing that without neglecting other things like justice and the love of God. For works without love means nothing. They are simply a way to glorify ourselves rather than the one who gave us everything (Matthew 6:2).We can show our faith in God by giving to our churches, ministries, and nonprofits. This is one of many ways that we can honor God with our money. Click To Tweet
Practical Benefits of Tithing
We have determined that as Christians we do not need to tithe, but rather we should be giving with a cheerful heart to the Lord. So what is happening with the money we are giving? What are some practical reasons we should be giving?
Simply put, the practical benefits of tithing are that the church depends on our offerings. I know it doesn’t sound very spiritual, but in all honesty, each of our churches depends on our monthly support to keep going.
Someone needs to pay for electricity and water. For the coffee and snacks. For all of the equipment that goes into the building. And someone needs to pay for fantastic pastors and employees. The way that this happens is through our offerings and support!
We need to be supporting those who preach the Gospel.
If we do not help monetarily support our churches with our offerings, they will fail to continue forward. They are just like any other operation and depend on “revenue” for lack of a better word. We should be supporting the church so it can continue to grow and flourish. And ultimately this will lead to more people hearing about the good news of Jesus!
Giving With a Cheerful Heart
There are many practical reasons to give to our churches. However, we shouldn’t only be giving out of a need to keep our church buildings running. When we give to the church, we are truly giving to God. And when we give to ministries, nonprofits, and those in need we are also giving to God.
Our giving is just one of many ways that we can honor God with our money.
When we give, we should be giving cheerfully in order to give thanks to our God for all that we have. After all, he is the one who has blessed us with everything that we call ours. It is a way that we can implement our faith in to our finances.
Our offerings should be a voluntary act of gratitude to honor our King.
Our faith in Christ should empower us to become generous givers. In our churches and beyond.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Tithing, and even giving, are not a requirement to earn salvation, God’s love, or his forgiveness. However, our cheerful giving is a response of thankfulness for all that He has done in our lives. So let us become faithful givers in order to glorify Him.