Tithe – Chafer

 NEW COVENANT GIVING vs tithe

       NEW COVENANT GIVING vs tithe :   Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, author of an eight volume Systematic Theology, and a leading spokesman for conservative Christianity, wrote an excellent article discussing New Covenant giving in his book, Major Bible Themes. That article is reprinted with permission in its entirety. Sperry is required reading in many conservative schools of theology.

Major Bible Themes Lewis Sperry Chafer, Revised by John Walvoord

“The giving of money which a Christian has earned becomes an important aspect of any believer’s service for God. Self and money are alike the roots of much evil, and in the dispensing of money, as in its acquisition and possession, the Christian is expected to stand upon ——-

 2 Cor 8:1-7

8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.   5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

This relationship presupposes that he has first given himself to God in unqualified dedication (2 Cor. 8:5); and a true dedication of self to God includes all that one is and has (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)–his life, his time, his strength, his ability, his ideals, and his property.

In matters pertaining to the giving of money, the grace principle involves the believer’s recognition of God’s sovereign authority over all that the Christian is and has, and contrasts with the Old Testament legal system of tithing which was in force as a part of the law until the law was done away with (John 1:16-17; Rom. 6:14; 7:1-6; 2 Cor. 3:1-18; Gal. 3:19-25; 5:18; Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14). Though certain principles of the law were carried forward and restated under grace, tithing, like Sabbath observance, is never imposed on the believer in this dispensation. Since the Lord’s Day superseded the legal Sabbath and is adapted to the principles of grace as the Sabbath could not be, so tithing has been superseded by a new system of giving which is adapted to the teachings of grace, as tithing could not be.

2 Cor 8:1-12

8:1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.   5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Rom 6:14

14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

Rom 7:1-6

7:1 Do you not know, brothers-for I am speaking to men who know the law-that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.  

Gal 3:19-26

19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

Gal 5:18

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 Eph 2:15

15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

Col 2:14

14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.

Christian giving under grace, as illustrated in the experience of the saints in Corinth, is summarized in 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15. In this passage we discover, One: Christ was their pattern. The Lord’s giving of Himself (2 Cor. 8:9) is the pattern of all giving under grace. He did not give a tenth; He gave ALL..Two: Their giving was even out of great poverty. A striking combination of phrases is employed to describe what the Corinthians experienced in their giving (2 Cor. 8:2): “in a great trial of affliction,” “the abundance of their joy,” “their deep poverty abounded,” “the riches of their liberality.” Likewise, concerning liberality in spite of great poverty, it should be remembered that “the widow’s mite” (Luke 21:1-4), which drew the commendation of the Lord Jesus, was not a part, but “all that she had.”Three: Their giving was not by commandment

2 Cor 9:6-9

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever.” 

Under the law, a tenth was commanded and its payment was a necessity; under grace, God is not seeking the gift, but an expression of devotion from the giver. Under grace no law is imposed and no proportion to be given is stipulated, and, while it is true that God works in the yielded heart both to will and to do His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), He finds pleasure only in that gift which is given cheerfully, or more literally, “hilariously” (2 Cor. 9:7).

If a law existed stipulating the amount to be given, there are those, doubtless, who would seek to fulfill it, even against their own wishes. Thus their gift would be made “grudgingly” and “of necessity (2 Cor. 9:7). If it be said that to support the work of the gospel we must have money whether given hilariously or not, it may also be said that it is not the amount which is given, but rather the divine blessing upon the gift that accomplishes the desired end.

Christ fed five thousand from five loaves and two fishes. There is abundant evidence to prove that wherever the children of God have fulfilled their privilege in giving under grace, their liberality has resulted in “all sufficiency in all things” which has made them “abound to every good work,” for God is able to make even the grace of giving to “abound” to every believer (2 Cor. 9:8).Four: The early Christians, first of all, gave themselves. Acceptable giving is preceded by a complete giving of oneself (2 Cor. 8:5). This suggests the important truth that giving under grace, like giving under the law, is limited to a certain class of people. Tithing was never imposed by God on any other than the nation Israel

 Lev 27:34

34 These are the commands the LORD gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.

Num 18:23-24

23 It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 Instead, I give to the Levites as their inheritance the tithes that the Israelites present as an offering to the LORD. That is why I said concerning them: ‘They will have no inheritance among the Israelites.’”

Mal 3:6-10

 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.

“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

8 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.

“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’

“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse-the whole nation of you-because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

So, Christian giving is limited to believers and is most acceptable when given by believers who have yielded their lives to God. Five: Christians in the early church also gave systematically. Like tithing, there is suggested systematic regularity in giving under grace. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him” (1 Cor. 16:2). This injunction is addressed to “every man” (every Christian man), and thus excuses none; and giving is to be from that which is already “in store.”Six: God sustains the giver. God will sustain grace-giving with limitless temporal resources (2 Cor. 9:8-10; Luke 6:38). In this connection it may be seen that those who give as much as a tenth are usually prospered in temporal things, but since the believer can have no relation to the law (Gal. 5:1), it is evident that this prosperity is the fulfillment of the promise under grace, rather than the fulfillment of promises under the law. No blessings are thus dependent on the exact tithing.

The blessings are bestowed because a heart has expressed itself through a gift. It is manifest that no gift will be made to God from the heart which He will not graciously acknowledge. There is no opportunity here for designing people to become rich. The giving must be from the heart, and God’s response will be bestowing spiritual riches, or in temporal blessings as He shall choose. Seven: True riches are from God. The Corinthian Christians were made rich with heavenly riches. There is such a thing as being rich in this world’s goods and yet not rich toward God (Luke 12:21). All such are invited to buy of Him that gold which is tried in the fire (Rev. 3:18). Through the absolute poverty of Christ in His death, all may be made rich (2 Cor. 8:9). It is possible to be rich in faith (Jas. 2:5) and rich in good works (1 Tim. 6:18); but in Christ Jesus the believer receives “the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7), and “the riches of his glory” (Eph. 3:16) .

 

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