I've not forgotten, that in response to Trevor's post on tithing, I promised to write on the subject. One reader has already reminded me of this in an offline comment! Apologies, this week has been busy, and I wanted to do the subject justice.
I want to start, not with tithing per-say, but with how we apply the Old Testament. Trevor rightly identified that this was at the heart of the issue. We need to understand that while we are not under law but under grace, the reason that is so, is not because the law was part of the Old Covenant which has passed away, and we are now under the New Covenant. People, this is dispensationalism, pure and simple!! The reason is that Christ, the perfect lamb has been slain and so has fulfilled in his body all the requirements of the law in such a way that it leaves nothing to be added.
Do we see God's redemptive plan in two acts, with Jesus coming out in the intermission like the guy who sells the ice-cream, or do we see one eternal plan, centered, focussed and pivoted on Christ as the Lamb in the center of the throne, slain from before the foundation of the world?!
I am disappointed how frequently I come across the attitude amongst brothers, who treat the Old Testament as if it was yesterday's milk. You have to sniff it first to see if it is still OK. As if God's word has a best before date! Or as if the God who wrote the Old Testament was somehow less infallible than the God of the New!
It is because all God's word is eternal that Christ had to come. If the law was only for a dispensation of time, then surely Jesus' anguished prayers in Gethsemane would have been answered. There would have been another way — "Just wait for the dispensation to end, Son. I'm not that bothered about this law stuff really, just thought it would fill some time."
Brothers, I may be being controversial, but I'm unhappy with the "Tithing precedes the law" explanation for why it is still applicable. As if what God said to Abraham is more valid than what he said to Moses. The issue is not when it was said, but who said it! Either it is the eternal word of God or it is not. If it is the word of God then it is applicable for all time, and we are only "free" from it if Christ has fulfilled it for us, once for all, on our behalf. The first commandment was given to Moses, and it is still very much in effect; circumcision was given to Abraham, before the law, and it is not. Let us be very careful that we do not dismiss God's eternal word, just because of when it was spoken, or who it was spoken to. This does not just apply to tithing, but to all the promises and commands in the Old Testament.
As I said on Trevor's comments section, I'll say again: If tithing is a principle in God's word for any time, then it is a principle for all time! Did Christ fulfill the requirement of tithing on the cross? Is it revealed in the New Testament to be just a physical foreshadow of a spiritual reality now revealed though our union with Christ? No? Then it is still very much in effect! The fact that God has said it, is in itself, all we need.
Best before 30AD? You have to be kidding! Heaven and earth have an earlier expiry date!
...this is just round 1...