Grace – Part 1

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen. 5:24

Sometimes the Lord reveals something and you wonder, how much is such a “leak” worth? And all of a sudden you realize that if all the money in the world, every last dime of it, and all the gold, and all the silver, and every kind of worldly treasure – if all of it were gathered together, it would count as nothing in the face of the tiniest bit of heavenly revelation that the Lord grants us to see in our hearts.

Today I would like us to consider the subject of grace a little bit more. There is so much the Lord wants us to know about this subject for He Himself is a God of grace. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal a God of grace and truth.

Did you know, for example, that before the law came God dealt with His people through grace? For example, Abel walked in the grace of God. And so did Enoch, and Noah.

I mention these three people specifically because in their time the world was so evil, but the Lord set them apart. Not that today or in other times the world has been less evil, no. But these gentlemen had so much grace that in the midst of all the evil that surrounded them, they stood out the way a lighthouse stands out in the darkest of nights.

Just think, during Noah’s time there was so much evil on earth that only one man, this Noah, could find favor in the eyes of the Lord! That is incredible, to say the least.

And what was it with Cain and Abel? It was simply that Abel sacrificed to the Lord by grace, and Cain by law. Cain’s heart was hard and we can see it in the manner in which he sacrificed. The Bible goes to length to describe the quality of the things that Abel sacrificed. You can see the heart there.

It says nothing of the things that Cain sacrificed. When it came time to give to the Lord, Cain gave because he had to, and the Lord had not respect” for his sacrifice.

That should be an eye-opener. God has no respect for things we do or give to Him because we have to. He only respects or considers the things that we do for Him out of a heart of grace. Anything done out of a heart of law is rejected by God.

That brings us to the issue of tithing. The way tithing is done today is invariably by law. You cannot mention the tithe today outside of law.

But did you know that Abraham – through whom we first learn about the tithe – tithed to God by grace? Whether it was a revelation from God that Abraham should give Him a tenth of his spoils, or whether Abraham decided on his own account to give God that much is not stated in the Bible. But the fact is, Abraham gave to God out of a spirit of grace, and not because he had to. That would have been law, and Abraham did not walk with God through law. God called Abraham His friend. There is no way you can put law on a friend.

It could very well be that God instituted the tithe in the law that He gave to Moses simply in honor of Abraham, who freely decided to give to God a tenth of his spoils.

That is why we do not read that Isaac gave to God a tenth of whatever he got. He probably gave more – or less. For sure he did give. But one thing is clear, though. Isaac lived in a free environment with God.

When Jacob was on his way to Laban’s house, he was granted a vision of the heavens; and in his gratitude he prayed to God and promised to give to God a tenth of whatever the Lord would bless him with.

That does not make the tenth to be a law. No. Notice it was Jacob who promised to give to God the tenth. It was not God who said, “Thou shalt!” In fact, in all probability, it must have surprised God to have Jacob say and do the same thing that his grandfather Abraham did. A pleasant surprise.

In any case, whatever the reason that made Jacob to promise to give to God a tenth of his wealth, he would have been very surprised had you stood before him and used the word “must”. No, it was not a must. It was a pleasure. It was a freewill gift.

Now, today you have preachers reading out of the Law of Moses and concretizing God’s people in law. When it comes to giving and to the tithe in particular, there is nothing but law that is at work in today’s church. And God has no respect for such giving or such service. God has no respect for anything that is done through duress.

I don’t care whether you are reaping a hundredfold or not, but if you are giving because you have to, or because men are coercing you into giving, you are sinning against God.

We are called to give, yes, and God blesses us when we give, but it should always – always – be in a spirit of freedom, and grace.

In the second part we will consider Enoch.

The Tithe is of Law, Not Grace

I met a lady recently who told me she had stopped going to church, a Pentecostal church. The reason, she told me, was because the gospel in her church had become all about money. The issue of the tithe had reached a level where the church leadership demanded to see every worker’s salary slip in order to confirm their salary, and hence determine the tithe they were to bring to church.

Not only that, she told me, but the number of contributions that one was required to make in church far exceeded even one’s earnings. In other words, church had placed upon her an unbearable financial burden.

“The church has become a business enterprise”, she told me.

So this lady just got tired and stopped going to church.

Just imagine that – a church has made someone to stop going to church on account of money! No wonder scripture says that the love of money is one of the root causes of all sorts of evil!

This is not something I have made up. It is a fact. This lady is right here in Singida, as real flesh and blood as you and I.

Unfortunately, she is not alone. There are millions of Christians in the same position as she is. Many may not have left church, but they have died – through suffocation – with the weight of the law that has been put on them.

Let me state right here that with the gospel there is only one law: freedom.

I probably need to write that in capital letters so a man who runs may see it: THE LAW OF THE GOSPEL IS FREEDOM.

When it comes to giving, there is one rule for giving: give according to your heart. There is no other “law”, and there is no way we are going to revert from that.

A heart that has been born again has the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit and to give as God directs it.

And the tithe? The tithe is law and it has no place in the church. The tithe is not a part of the New Testament gospel that we have inherited.

The problem of tithe has become particularly endemic in church today. But nowhere in the New Testament do we read about the tithe. Even when Jesus spoke about the tithe, remember He was speaking before the crucifixion. A lot of things changed after the crucifixion.

Paul does not speak about tithing. Nor does James. Nor Peter, nor Jude, nor John. No apostle ever told the church to tithe.

How come then that the tithe is emphasized so much in church today? Is there not something amiss there? Indeed there is. The spirit of the law is there. And where the law is there is flesh, and sin.

And what is it with the law? The Bible says that the law was added because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19). In other words, the law was injected because of sin. It was brought in to put a lid on sin. But when grace came, the lid was removed, so we may serve God in freedom.

Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary dealt with sin once and for all. Therefore, as far as the believer is concerned, sin is no longer there. Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient to cover every believer’s sin.

We therefore do not need law to try and put a lid on sin (for that is all that law can do, it can do no more). The grace that Christ brought is more than sufficient to deliver us from the power of sin.

Ever since we at Zion Gospel Assembly heard the gospel of the revelation of the grace of God many years ago, we stopped tithing in our church. Not that we stopped people from tithing – if someone feels they need to continue tithing they are free to do so! But we as a church discovered that the tithe is meaningless under the New Covenant, and we stopped preaching on it. Let’s just say we set people free to be who they are and to give to God in freedom.

This may have reduced our church offerings, but we are comfortable with that. We have faith that one day, as the revelation of God continues to work in men and women’s hearts, people will continue to grow in God’s grace and one day they will find themselves giving infinitely more than they did under law.

The church today needs to wake up and stop serving God under the law. This will never do with God. God has proclaimed it is by grace, and by grace it will have to be! Grace means total freedom to be led by the Holy Spirit. That is the meaning of grace.

[Below: Enjoy!]