Do we need to tithe under the New Covenant? Will God punish us if we fail to tithe? And is there any benefit to tithing?
As usual, let us look to the Bible for the answer:
You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.
(Deuteronomy 14:22-23 NASB)
Back in the days of Moses, tithing was a law, meaning the people had to tithe. Failure to do so was tantamount to “robbing” God, and was an offence punishable by a curse.
Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!
(Malachi 3:8-9 NASB)
As for the obedient tithers, great rewards were in store (quite literally) for them.
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts.
(Malachi 8:10-12 NASB)
More than just blessing them with abundance for their 10%, God also guaranteed protection over their remaining 90% against “the devourer” (most likely to be the devil who loves to steal, kill and destroy).
Ok, those were the old days. So what about now?
Let’s look at the famous “cheerful giver” passage in 2 Corinthians:
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 NASB)
As we can see, giving (through tithes and offerings) is no longer a law but a choice. We are free to give or not to give. In fact, Paul told us to give only what we are willing to and not to give “grudgingly or under compulsion (by anyone)”.
And while we are no longer in danger of being hit by a curse for non-giving, God did not take away the benefits. In verse 7, Paul wrote:
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
(2 Corinthians 9:8 NASB)
Like in the Old Covenant, there is still a promise of reward for your giving (which is considered a good deed in the eyes of God). In fact, the tithes and offerings are likened to seeds which if you “sow bountifully”, you will also “reap bountifully”.
And if we look at it from a sowing point of view, we are in fact not restricted to giving only 10% (“tithes”) if we are looking for a bigger harvest.
So to answer our questions:
Do we need to tithe under the New Covenant?
No. We do not need to give (but we get to give).
Will God punish us if we fail to tithe?
No. God will not (though there is really plenty of upside in doing so).
Is there any benefit to tithing?
Yes. God has promised us a harvest for our seeds.
In any case, the spirit of giving is not in the rewards (even though there are), but as written in Deuteronomy 14, it is for us to learn “to fear our Lord always“…
*A special thanks to a friend, Joel, for pointing out certain passages to me.*
to be continued…