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Tithing is a law and not just a principle.

Submitted: 3/3/2008
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Question: Acts 15:5 says, 'But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.' Hebrews 7:5 says, 'And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham.' Acts 15 deals with circumcission and keeping the law. Hebrews 5:1-4 shows that tithes was a principle before the law, but Hebrews 7:5 shows that tithes became law for the Levites. And Hebrews 12 confirms that there was a change in that law.

Answer: By this reasoning, it is now okay to lie, steal, commit adultery, dishonor parents, and commit murder. What we need to understand is that Paul understod that no one can be justified merely by keeping the law (Romans 3:20). This is basic New Testament dcotrine. Once a person has sinned (and all do), it doesn't matter how perfectly he may do what is right according to the law, he is still a sinner. 99% good conduct does not undo 1% wrong. This is why we all need a Savior. Under the Old Testament a person needed to be marked by circumcision. Today we are marked by the new birth (see Colossions 2:11-13 and Galatians 6:15). Under the Old Testament we needed to keep the Sabbath. Today we find rest in Jesus (see Matthew 11:28-30). Under the Old Testament we needed to offer animal sacrifices for our sins. Today we depend on the sacrifice of Jesus (see Hebrews 7:27). This is what we mean by the New Testament fulfilling the Old. This is what we mean when we say that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law.

But the law was more than a foreshadowing of Christ. It also set forth the principles by which the life of faith operates. This means that we refrain from lying, not to be saved, but because we are saved and desire to live a life of faith. And we are faithful to our spouses, not to be saved, but because we are and desire to live a life of faith. This is what it means to live by faith and to follow 'the doctrine which accords with godliness' (1 Timothy 6:3). In the same way, we do not tithe in order to acquire salvation, but because we are saved and we trust God to provide for us. Tithing is a beautiful act of faith in the God who provides.