Freedom from the Law and Spiritual Growth
By G. E. Jones
Paul wrote the epistle to the Galatians to combat and expose the error of legalism which had been brought into these churches by false teachers. He charged the Galatians with being removed from the grace of Christ to another gospel, but which he said was not another, but that there were some who would pervert the gospel of Christ. See Gal. 1:617. He said to them, "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed," Gal. 1:9. He even went so far as to say, "I would that they were even cut off which trouble you." See Gal. 5:12.
After severely rebuking the Galatians for their unstability and denouncing the legalistic teachers who were troubling them he said, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ bath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Gal. 5:1.
Man, by nature is a Legalist
Men are by nature legalists. Instead of being concerned about what Christ has done for them, and will do for them, and in them, they are more concerned about trying to do something for Christ. This has led men away from the simplicity that is in Christ unto unscriptural methods and a multiplicity of organizations which have sapped the spiritual life of the churches, and have burdened the people with many unnecessary and unprofitable things. Little time is left for meditation, devotion and scriptural study. It makes us think of the question Jeremiah asked Judah, "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?" See Jer. 2:36.
A few years ago I was visiting a college friend in his home. We were talking on certain scriptural subjects. He was pastor of a large Convention Baptist Church. He was uninformed on those scriptural subjects. I asked him why he did not study up on them and inform his people on those things which they needed to know. He said, "Brother, I do not have time. I have to speak once a week to the Men's Brotherhood, and once a week to the boys' organization, and once to this organization and that organization, and I have this committee meeting and that committee meeting." He was so busy looking after things the Lord had not told him to do, that little time was left for doing what the Lord did tell him to do. The word of God tells the servant of God to study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. He is to teach the same to his people. The average church member today knows little about the book of Revelation. Why? The preachers themselves do not know. They are too busy operating, and keeping up with an hundred and one different organizations we could well do without. Too many, like Martha, are troubled about many things, and they have not chosen the good part as did Mary.
Men are prone to put the emphasis on that which is outward, rather than that which is inward. They are more concerned about that which makes a show before men, than they are with that which is pleasing to God. They think more about the things which can be put in statistics, and will make a good report before the churches and religious leaders and men, than they are about the record that is being made in heaven. They are more interested in greenback than they are in grace. They are more concerned about that which brings glory to themselves, than they are with that which glorifies God. Paul said, "As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ." Gal. 6:12. He also said, "Neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh." Gal. 6:13. Many of our churches today, like the church at Sardis, have a name that they live, but they are dead. See Rev. 3:1.
We need to go back to the word of God again and study anew the law, and our freedom from the same. This writer believes that at least nine church members out of ten, and four preachers out of five are in some measure entangled in the meshes of the law.
As a proof that the above statement is true I refer to an article which recently appeared in one of our papers. The writer said that he was under eleven commandments, the ten which were written on tables of stone, and the new commandment which Jesus gave that we should love one another. And he thanked God that he was under eleven. Well, we shall see that the ten commandments which are written in tables of stone are called the ministration of DEATH and the ministration of CONDEMNATION. 3:7-9. So this man was thanking God that he was under the ministration of DEATH and the ministration of CONDEMNATION. I thank God that I have been made FREE from the law of sin and DEATH, and am standing in the liberty wherewith Christ has made me free, and that I am not under the ten commandments. Such persons still have the veil over their hearts. After speaking about the ministration of DEATH and of CONDEMNATION in
II Cor. 3:7-11, and saying that this ministration had been done away, Paul went on to say, "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart," II Cor. 3:15.
The main purpose of this book which I am now writing is to get the people, preachers and others, to see our freedom from the law, and teach the people the same. If I thought I was under the ten commandments I would go and join the Seventh Day Adventists. This man claims he is under the ten commandments. One of those ten enjoins the observance of the sabbath, and plainly says that the seventh day is the sabbath. See Ex. 20:8-10. This man does not belong to the Advents or he would not be writing to a Baptist paper. And I will say that he makes no attempt to observe the seventh day of the week. If he is a preacher he needs to study his Bible closer. If he is not a preacher he needs a pastor who can teach him the truth on this line.
The Law Stands or Passes As A Whole
Many think that some part, or parts of the law have been fulfilled, and we are not under obligation to keep them, while other parts of it remain which we as believers are under obligation to observe. This is a mistake. The law stands or passes as a whole, not in parts. Jesus said, "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matt. 5:18. If we are under any part of it, we are under all of it. If we have been made free from any part of it, then we have been made free from all of it. If we are under the ten commandments, as the Adventists teach, then we are obligated to observe the seventh day of the week, as the law commanded Israel to do. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall thou labour and do all thy work: but the SEVENTH day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God," Ex. 20:8-10. Do we observe the seventh day of the week as a day of rest? We cannot say that this commandment has been fulfilled and abolished, but the other nine remain. Jesus said, "One jot or tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled," Matt. 5:18. To say the believer is under nine of them is to teach that he is under all ten of them, and that he must observe the seventh day of the week, as did Israel, and as the Advents claim to do.
Neither can we say that the sabbath has been changed from the seventh day to the first day of the week. There is not one line of scripture which teaches that. Neither is there one place to be found where the first day of the week is called the sabbath, or a sabbath. We often hear it called such by people in their prayers, conversation, and sometimes in sermons. But there is an abundance of scripture which teaches that the law has been abolished, and that the believer is not bound by the law of days. Paul certainly taught this when he wrote the Galatians, "Ye observe days, months, times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain," Gal. 4:10-11. The believer is not bound by a law of any day. He is privileged to assemble on the first day of the week, or any other day. But there is no specific command which makes it obligatory upon him to assemble on the seventh day or the first day, any more than any other day. There are examples found where the believers met on the first day of the week, (Acts 20:7) and also on all the days of the week. "And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and in breaking bread from house to house," Acts 2:46.
Three Parts In The Law
In the law, commonly known as the Mosiac law, or covenant, there were three parts or divisions, each essential to the other. They were the ten commandments which expressed God's righteous will. Then there were the ordinances which regulated Israel's religious life. In these they were told what feasts and days they must keep, and the different sacrificial offerings they should bring, and what they were to contribute of their means for the support of the religious work. Third, there were the judgments which governed the social life of Israel; laws concerning marriage, business, contracts, the sale of lands, and houses, the employment of servants, and the management of the land; what they could eat, and could not eat.
Now let us take up each of these parts and see if the New Testament teaches that the believer is bound by any part of the law.
The Ten Commandments
The ten commandments were written in tables of stone and they have been abolished. This is learned by reading Deut. 10:1-5 and II Cor. 3:7-11.
"At that time the Lord said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were written on the first tables which thou breakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, which the Lord spake unto you in the mount (See Ex. 20:1-17) out of the midst of fire in the day of the assembly: and the Lord gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made, and there they be," Deut. 10:1-5.
This passage makes it plain that it was the ten commandments which were written in TABLES OF STONE. When we read II Cor. 3:7-11 we learn that the ten commandments are called the ministration of DEATH and CONDEMNATION and that this ministration has been abolished and has been done away.
"If the ministration of DEATH, written and engraven IN STONES, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: how shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of CONDEMNATION be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no gory in this respect, by reason of the, glory that excelleth. For if that which IS DONE AWAY was glorious, much more that which REMAINETH is glorious."
In the above passage Paul is contrasting the ministration of the law, which was written in TABLES OF STONE, with the ministration of the Spirit which he said is written "IN THE FLESHY TABLES OF THE HEART," 11 Cor. 3:3. He calls the ministration which was written in TABLES OF STONE the ministration of DEATH and of CONDEMNATION. He said that this was DONE AWAY. This is plain enough for any to understand, if he is not spiritually blind. In this same connection Paul said, "Seeing we have such hope, we use great PLAINNESS of speech," v. 12.
Paul called the ten commandments the ministration of DEATH. The 10th commandment concerns coveting. It was this tenth commandment that brought spiritual death to Paul. He said, "I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, thou shalt not covet. . . . For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." See Rom. 7:7-9.
We have seen in the third chapter of Second Corinthians how that Paul contrasted the ministration of the Spirit which he said in the 6th verse gives life, with the ministration of DEATH, which was written in TABLES OF STONE. Now we read in Rom. 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me FREE from the LAW of SIN and DEATH."
Thus we have positive proof that the ten commandments, called the ministration of condemnation and death, have been fulfilled and done away for the believer.
The Ordinances and Judgments
The ordinances, which regulated the religious life of Israel were abolished by the death of Christ on the cross. This is plainly taught in Col. 2:13-14.
"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Then he goes on to say in the 16th verse, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath." (The word "days" in this verse is in italics, and is not found in the Greek in this verse, so I did not quote it.)
From this we see that the believer is set free from the law concerning the eating of certain kinds of meats, and the observance of holy days, or of a sabbath. In Lev. 11:1-8 we find that Israel was forbidden to eat the flesh of any animal which did not split the hoof and shew the cud. Thus they could not eat swine meat. If we are under this part of the law then we break it if we eat bacon or ham meat. In Lev. 11:9-12 we find that the law forbade Israel to eat of any fish unless it had both fins and scales. The catfish does not have scales. Are we under this part of the law? If so, then we are not permitted to eat cat-fish.
The law commanded Israel to let the land rest on the seventh year. See Lev. 25:1-4. Do we do this? According to the law no Israelite could sell his land forever. See Lev. 25:23. He could only sell it until the next jubilee year came, which was every fifty years. See Lev. 25:24-28. Do we practice this? God made this law for Israel only. Israel was commanded to cimcumcise their male children in their flesh. See Gen. 17:12 and Lev. 12:1-3. De we practice fleshly circumcision? Israel was commanded to bring certain animals as offerings for their sins. See Lev. 1:1 to 7: 8. If we are under the law we should do the same. All this talk about the ceremonial part of the law being done away, and the other part being binding on the believer today has no scriptural foundation at all. If any part is binding on us, then the whole law is binding on us. Paul said to the Galatians, "I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law," Gal. 5:3. To obligate ourselves to keep one part of the law means to obligate ourselves to keep all the law, fleshly circumcision, animal sacrifices, the seventh day of the week and all the rest.
The Believer Is Free From The Law
That the believer is free from the law and all its demands is made plain by the New Testament. Not only is he free from part of the law, but all of the law. None of its demands are binding on him, and over and over he is admonished to recognize this fact and act accordingly.
"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," Rom. 10:3. "Ye are not under the law, but under grace," Rom. 6:14. "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law," Gal. 5:18. "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made," Gal. 3:19. "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster," Gal. 24-25. "The woman which hath an husband is bound by the law of her husband so long as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. . . . Wherefore my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God,” Rom. 7:2-4.
In the above passages we learn that the believer is no longer the law, and he is not to serve the law. It was added be-of transgressions UNTIL the seed should come to whom the was made. That seed is Christ. "He saith not, and to as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ," Gal. 3:16. Therefore to seek to serve the law and to follow its demands is to take the position that Christ has not yet come, which is the spirit of the anti-christ. "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of the anti-christ," I John 4:3.
Paul compared the law to a woman's first husband. As long as that husband lives she is bound by the law to him But if he dies she is made free from the law of that husband and is free to marry another. By the death of Christ we were made free from the LAW, the first husband. To seek to serve the law, while professing to follow Christ is like a woman trying to live with two husbands at the same time.
The Law Was Not Made For The Righteous Person
"Now the end of the commandment (Law) is charity (love) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neitherer what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law was not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine," I Tim. 5:10.
From the above we see that when one seeks to place himself under the law, that he is classing himself with murderers, liars, thieves, whoremongers, the unholy and profane, and those who defile themselves with mankind. We also see that such persons do not understand what they teach or affirm, and are only vain janglers, and are unsound in the faith.
Why Look To The Law?
The law can tell us what we ought to be, but it cannot enable us to be that. It can tell us "Thou shalt not kill," (Ex. 20:13), but it has no power to keep a man from hating. The New Testament teaches us that "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer," I John 3:15. While the law might restrain a person from committing the act of murder, it can never remove the disposition to kill. On the other hand the Spirit of God takes away this evil disposition and replaces it with LOVE.
The law says "Thou shalt not commit adultery," (Ex. 20:14), but it cannot keep a person from lusting. And Jesus said "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart," Matt. 5:28. The law may restrain a person from the outward act of adultery, but it can never remove the lustful desire from his heart. On the other hand when we have been made free from the law and are under the power of God's grace and Spirit that takes care of that evil lustful disposition. Our freedom in Christ does not give us liberty to do those things the law forbids, but it takes away the desire to do those evil things, something the law is powerless to do. The law can forbid us doing those evil things, but it can never place in our hearts that new principle which alone can give us victory over the desire to do those evil things. So victory can never come by listening to the law and its demands. It can only come through yielding ourselves to the Spirit to follow His desires. Never until one sees this truth and follows it can he have victory over the flesh.
There was nothing wrong with the law. Paul tells us "The law is holy, just and good," Rom. 7:12. But at the same time he said, "I am carnal, sold under sin," Rom. 7:14. The trouble is in man himself. Because of man's sinful disposition the law was weak through the flesh. Therefore it can never bring forth in man that which it demands. "For what the law COULD NOT DO, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT," Rom. 8:3-4.
From the above we learn that the law was weak through the flesh. It is still weak through the flesh. That is why Paul said in another place, "By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin," Rom. 3:20. That is why he also said, "But now the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe," Rom. 3:2122. This is why, when contrasting the ministration of the law and the ministration of the Spirit in II Cor. 3:6-11, he called the law (that which was written in tables of stone) the ministration of DEATH and CONDEMNATION, while he called the ministration of the Spirit the ministration of RIGHTEOUSNESS. The righteousness of God has to be through faith apart from any deeds of the law because the law is weak through the flesh. The law is right in what it demands. But it is weak and ineffectual in that it is unable to enable sinful man to keep its precepts. There is no provision made in the law whereby man may receive the Spirit, and only through the Spirit can the righteous acts which the law demands be performed.
In Gal. 3:2 Paul asked the Galatians, "This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the LAW, or by THE HEARING OF FAITH?" This makes it evident that the Spirit is not received through the ministration of the law, but by faith in the crucified and risen Son of God. We cannot be under both the ministration of death and the ministration of life at the same time. That which kills does not give life. A man might take a gun and with it shoot another to death. In this case the gun becomes the ministration of death. But he can never take that same gun and give life to the dead man by continually pumping lead into his lifeless body. Only the power of God can bring the man back to life. So the law can bring death, but it can never give life. Paul said, "The Spirit giveth life," II Cor. 3:6. The Spirit does not make us alive to put us back under the law that brought death.
Paul also said, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty," II Cor. 3:17. On the other hand he calls the law the yoke of bondage in Gal. 5:1. Surely the ministration of the Spirit does not make us free only to put us under the yoke of bondage again. We are justified through the righteousness of faith. See Rom. 3: 22-24. Would God justify us through His grace to put us back under the law which is the ministration of condemnation? We cannot be free from sin and under bondage to sin at the same time. We cannot be dead in sins and alive through the Spirit at the same time.
In Gal. 4:21-31 Paul brings in the allegory of Abraham's two sons, the one who was born of Agar, the bondwoman, and the other who was born of Sarah the freewoman. He shows that Agar and her son represent the law which was given at Mount Sinai. On the other hand, Isaac represents the children of promise. "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise," Gal. 4:28. If we are under the law as well as under grace, then why was the bondwoman and her son cast out? Ishmael should have been equally heir with Isaac. But "what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman," v. 30. This makes it plain that the one who has been made free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2) is free forever from any and all demands the law might make. He is to listen no longer to its demands.
Love Is The Fulfilling of The Law
"He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. 13:8-10.
It is through the Spirit of God, not through the demands of the law, that we are enabled to love one another. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," Rom. 5:5. We do not acquire this love by seeking to observe a sabbath day, by observance of any rituals, or by giving any or all of our means to feed the poor, or to support the work of the gospel. We can only acquire this love by the direct operation of the Spirit of God in our hearts. Paul makes it plain that nothing which we might do which is not motivated by love will profit anything. He said, "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned; and have not charity (Greek, Love) it profiteth me nothing," I Cor. 13:3.
The Law Does Not Bring Salvation—Neither Can It Promote Spiritual Growth
In writing to the Galatians Paul said, "This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect (mature) by the flesh," Gal. 3:2-3. If we had to turn away from the law and its works in order to obtain salvation by grace, then after being saved by this grace, apart from any works, why should we turn to the law again to promote our growth, or for a standard of service? One of the most foolish of all things is to try to mix law and grace, either for salvation, or to promote our spiritual growth or to render acceptable service unto the Lord. "As ye have received Christ, so walk ye in him." We received Christ by faith, not by the deeds of the law. Even so must our walk be by faith. "In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but FAITH which worketh by LOVE," Gal. 5:6.
In the opinion of this writer, one of the main reasons for the lack of spiritual power in our churches is that there is too much legalistic preaching by our preachers, and too much substitution of man-made organizations in the hope of creating spiritual power. There can be no real substitute for the preaching and teaching of the truth and for the work of the Spirit among us. We have a lot of Methodist Baptists among us today. The word "Methodist" came from the word "method" and that people were called by that name because of the methods they introduced into their churches. Today, through fear of losing their young people to these other churches, Baptists are following their example and bringing in like innovations into the churches. Years ago I was with a preacher friend in a meeting. The church was having its church parties. I knew that he did not believe in such as that, and I told him so. His reply was "No, I do not like it in the church, but we must do something or these other churches will get all our young people." We may as well try to fatten a hog on sawdust as to grow a spiritual church on entertainment.
Years ago I was teaching a few nights in a certain Baptist church in California. My part of the service was to be followed by a business meeting and the election of officers. The church had between thirty and forty members. I was given 25 minutes to speak on a Bible subject. They used almost two hours in electing about 80 officers for the multiplicity of organizations. Some were elected to three or four positions. They had enough organizations for a church of a thousand members. The emphasis was put on those organizations, rather than learning the word of God. Today the preaching of the word must take a back seat, while organizations occupy the prominent place. I frequently go to a place to preach. After all the announcements are made, and a number of special songs are rendered, about 25 minutes of time is left for the reading of the scriptures and the preaching of the word. Then we wonder why people do not come to church. If we did not have so many organizations the preaching of the word would not be crowded out by the time consumed in making announcements about the same. Most of the people go to church for worship and to hear a message from the word of God, not to hear announcements for twenty minutes.
When this writer began his ministry, the preacher was ready to take over by the 11 o'clock hour. After about ten minutes of congregational singing, in which most of the people took part, and an opening prayer, the preacher read the scripture lesson and preached until the 12 o'clock hour. In those days, people filled the house of worship. The complaint today is that people do not like long sermons. The truth of the matter is that they are worn out with so many preliminaries and are bored to death with so many announcements before the preacher has an opportunity to begin his message. If this preacher knows how to read his Bible, it puts the emphasis on the preaching of the word, not on organizations. Today this is reversed. All other things have the preeminence over the preaching of the word. Let us put the emphasis where the Bible places it. It says, "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (not by the multiplicity of organizations) to save them that believe," I Cor. 1:21.
Let us get back to the old way of preaching the grace that makes us free from the law and all its demands, and put the emphasis on the preaching of the word, and not on organizations which men have forced upon us, and we will see a difference. I have known of people walking from three to five miles, and traveling ten miles in wagons to hear sermons which were from an hour to an hour and a half long. I have seen them stand that long on the outside by the windows with their hands cupped to their ears to hear the word preached. There was not room in the buildings for all the people. Do you think they would have done that to hear 30 minutes of announcements and a 20 minute message from the word of God? People who were very faithful in church work move to the towns and cities. Many of them after being in the services a few times cease to come. The preacher wonders why. They do not get what they have been accustomed to in rural sections. You can call up a bunch of hogs and throw a basket full of corn to them and they will come every time they are called. But throw them a basket full of shucks and shavings and soon they will pay no attention to your call So when we call upon people to come to church and everything else is given the preeminence over preaching, soon church attendance drops off.
A Disannuling of The Commandment Going Before
"For there is verily a disannuling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof," Heb. 7:18. As Paul wrote in Rom. 8:3 the law was weak through the flesh. He did not say that certain parts of the law were weak through the flesh, and other parts were not, and some things were unprofitable, and others were profitable. He meant that the whole law, as a system, was weak through the flesh, and was unprofitable, and was disannulled. In James 2:10 we read, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." This definitely shows that the law stands or passes as a whole so far as the believer in Christ is concerned. To have some parts disannulled and other parts remaining is to put a child of God in a position where he can and will break one point and thus become guilty of the whole. Not until men see that a child of God is entirely free from the whole law, and thus free from the law of condemnation and death, can they understand the Bible doctrine of the eternal security of the one who has trusted Christ for salvation. The preaching and teaching of so many preachers and teachers have confused the minds of so many people until they do not see and understand where they stand or what is their position before God.
God's grace not only operated in saving us, but it also operates in promoting our spiritual growth, and empowering us for service. But, if we put ourselves back under the law we cut ourselves off, not from the grace that saved us, for that has already been done, and "What God doeth, it shall be forever," Eccl. 3:14, but we cut ourselves off from that grace which promotes our spiritual growth and power. (Gal. 3:2-3).
We Are To Serve In Newness of Spirit—Not In Oldness of The Letter
"But now we are delivered FROM THE LAW, that being dead wherein we were
held; that we should serve in NEWNESS of spirit, and
not in the OLDNESS of the letter," Rom. 7:7. In
Those To Whom The Law Was Given Did Not Keep It
Those to whom the law was given did not keep it. Paul said to the Galatians, "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh." When some legalistic teachers desired to put the Gentile converts under the law Peter said, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear," Acts 15:10. In Mal. 3:7 God said to Israel "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them." In Rom. 3:19 we read, "What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are UNDER THE LAW: that EVERY MOUTH may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."
This does not mean that just some of the things the law says it says to them UNDER THE LAW, but whatsoever it might say, that is each and everything it says it says to those under the law, (Not those under grace) and for the purpose of pronouncing the whole world guilty before God. So then, why try to put the believer in Christ under any part of the law? To do so is to tempt God as Peter said in Acts 15:10. To seek to do so is to seek to place the child of God under a yoke of bondage again. Yet, this is just what many preachers are trying to do today. They are trying to drive God's children to service by the whip lash of fear. They are saying to them if you do this or that, or if you fail to do this or that God will curse you with a curse. I recently read where a prominent writer said that the passage in Malachi teaches that when a man refuses to tithe he is (1) guilty of robbing God; (2) is subjected to a CURSE (My caps.), and (3) is denied the right of the blessings of God."
I resent the application of such a passage to the children of God. This means to place God's children under the law, and to seek to drive them to service with the whip lash of fear. Paul said, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the CURSE," Gal. 3:10. He also said, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the LAW, being made a CURSE for us," Gal. 3:13. Such handling of the scriptures shows an ignorance between that which is of the LAW and that which is of GRACE. God does not CURSE His children. There is no such a word as "CURSE" in the dictionary of GRACE. It also ignores the fact that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law through the shedding of His blood on the cross. God's children are not galley slaves to be driven with a whip lash of fear. They are freeborn. In Rom. 8:15 we read, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Paul did not say a fear of the curse constraineth us, but "The LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETH US," II Cor. 5:14. When Malachi said, "For ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, EVEN THIS WHOLE NATION," he was not writing to those whom Christ has redeemed from the curse of the LAW, but to the nation of Israel which was under the LAW. It is a gross misapplication of the word of God to take that which was written to the nation of Israel, which was under the law, and apply the same to those under GRACE who have been redeemed from the curse of the law. More shall be said about this passage in Mal. 3:6-10 at another time. We shall see that this passage sounds the death knell to the teaching of tithing as a New Testament system of worship and service.
Tithing, Or Giving A Tenth, Is Not A New Testament System of Giving
I am aware of the fact that it is getting to be an unpopular thing among Baptists, the NABA and ABA, the Convention Baptists, and also some Independent Baptists, for one to raise his voice against tithing (the giving of a tenth) as a New Testament system of doctrine and practice. I am also aware of the fact that I have already brought criticism and discrimination on myself by refusing to stand for this kind of preaching and teaching. But I cannot and will not advocate that which I firmly believe to be legalism. I object to the movement among us to bring those whom Christ has made free from the law back under the yoke of bondage again. When I was in the Convention ranks I was persecuted and discrimination was made against me when I ceased to preach tithing. It was a matter of conviction with me when I ceased to preach it then. It is still a matter of conviction with me, and, regardless of the cost to me, I am raising my voice against it again. I ask the reader to bear with me until we have made a close scriptural examination of this subject. There are many things involved in this question which tithing preachers have never considered. Too many are prone to accept a thing because some of the leading men say it is right. I learned years ago to study the word of God for myself, and not to take a thing because it is popular, or because some of our leading men say it is right.
Another reason why I am speaking out against the modern day preaching and teaching among us is that I am tired of hearing the motives of those who cannot agree with the tithing preachers impugned. I have seen the feelings of older people grievously wounded because they will not swallow everything the tithing preachers want to feed to them. I have seen old people, people with scarcely enough income to feed and clothe themselves severely criticized and their feelings wounded because they would not give a tenth of their relief check to the church. In the New Testament times the churches were taught to support the poor. Today the tithing preachers would reverse this and have the poor supporting the church. A good example may be found in Big Creek Valley Church near Jonesboro, Ark. I was one time pastor of that church and the members were liberal and spiritual and humble. They did not come behind in giving to missions, or in supporting me, or in giving to various other things in the Lord's work. I did not preach to them that they were under obligation to give a tenth of their income. When I went to that church it was small in number, and had only been having half time preaching. I suggested that we go to full time preaching. They said "We are not able to support full time preaching." I told them that I had not said anything about what they were to pay me, and did not intend to say anything about it. If they wanted to go to full time preaching they could just take up a freewill offering every Sunday morning and whatever it might be I would accept it, and all they would ever hear about it from me would be "I thank you."
This church took me up on my offer, and we went to full time preaching. In just a short time the offerings had gone up to three times what they had been before. Interest began to grow, the lost were saved, and God's people would be on the mountain top. They worked and gave and gave and worked and soon added some Sunday School rooms to the building voluntarily, and without any high pressure methods. At that time I was teaching in the Jonesboro Bible School for preachers. During my second year as pastor I had a severe heart attack, and came near dying. The doctor told me I was going to have to slow down in my work. So we soon closed out the school at Jonesboro, and when my year as pastor was finished I told them not to recall me. And my wife and I moved back to our home in Morrilton. But, some years after I left, that church called some preachers who seemingly wanted to do nothing but drill tithing into the minds of those people.
In that church there are two old couples who draw a small welfare check. In one of the families neither the man nor his wife are able to do any work to earn a cent. They have a large drug bill every month. Because they would not consent to give a tenth of their welfare check to the church the preacher would get up in the pulpit and wound their feelings. In the other family the man's hands are so drawn with arthritis that he is unable to work. His wife is past 70 years old, and has to wear a large bandage around her body because of some severe operations which left her in a bad shape. But in spite of her infirmities she gets out in the cotton patch and picks cotton to add to their meager funds. The preacher went to her and tried to make her believe that she was under obligation to give to the church a tenth of what she got in the relief check and what she made in the cotton patch. Then he would get up in the pulpit and say, "Tell me how much you give to the church, and. I will tell you how much you love the Lord." His abusive preaching not only drove these old people from the church, but many others. I feel compelled to lift my voice in the defense of those good old people, who were doing all they could for the church. The tithing preachers were trying to drive them as though they were slaves to the law.
It is assumed by the tithing preachers, or by most of them, those who will not submit to the doctrine of tithing are stingy, close-fisted and tight wads. And they do not hesitate to say as much the pulpit. They ignore the fact that many of those people studied the Bible on the question of tithing much longer than have, and that they are motivated by principle, and not by and stinginess. We could, if we were so unkind as they, say they are also motivated by greed, and a desire for more money it preaching tithing for today. Peter admonished the elders feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the overt thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for FILTHY LUCRE (money), but of a ready mind," I Pet. 5:1-2. Personally I think that the motive which prompts some to preach tithing is they might raise more money for themselves, or to give to us things sponsored by the denomination, and thus raise their standing in the eyes of men. However I do not think this is the motive which prompts all. It was not my motive when I preached tithng. Had it been so I would not have ceased to preach it. I shall have more to say about this later on.
Once An Advocate of Tithing
As I have already implied there was a time in my life when I preached tithing. I was a young preacher at that time, and was working with the Convention brethren. Why did I preach it? Because the leading preachers in Convention ranks advocated it, and passages which they used to sustain their contention seemed (I SAY SEEMED) to support their contention. So I went ahead and preached tithing without studying the Bible closely to see if they were using rightly the scriptures they quoted. And in blindly following the leaders I, like them, was guilty of misleading the people, and of planting in their minds false hopes. And many today are doing the same thing. They have taken some things for granted and have not really gone into a scriptural study of the question.
But there came a time when I got a severe jolt which caused me to stop and consider and go to the Bible and study this question for myself. When I did I found out that I had been preaching legalism, and not the truth in Christ as is revealed in the New Testament. In 1919 the Convention people put on a drive to get $75,000,000 in pledges, which was to be paid in five years. Somehow I had a feeling that there was something wrong about the whole thing. But since I was not able to formulate a reason for that feeling I went ahead and took part in that campaign. Along with the campaign the country was sown down with preaching on tithing. Mal. 3:8-10 was quoted over and over and the people were told if they would only give a tenth that God would open the windows of heaven and pour out on them a blessing which would be so great there would not be room enough to receive it. They would be prospered financially and spiritually. Not knowing that this passage of scripture had its application to the nation of Israel only, and that under the law, I followed in line and preached the same.
Not only did they receive pledges for $75,000,000 to be paid in five years, but the pledges went over $90,000,000. They had adopted a World War term of "Going Over the Top." There was great jubilee in their ranks, and the papers were filled with great cries about going over the top, and of a great victory. They had great plans for expensive buildings, more, larger and better equipped schools, hospitals and things like that. The churches I pastored went above what they had been assessed, or the leaders had figured they should give. I myself pledged a tenth, and so did many other of my church members. Most of us paid our pledge at once. And the Convention launched out to do big things for the Lord. But the whole thing turned out to be one big bubble that bursted the next year.
When those pledges were made everything was prosperous. There were bumper crops of cotton and corn. Cotton was bringing 46 cents per pound, and corn was selling for $2.00 a bushel and up. But one year later a depression was on. Cotton was selling for 8 cents a pound. People were going broke all over the country. Farmers were unable to pay their taxes, and no one scarcely had any money. When I made my pledge I was drawing $700 from two country churches, and that year I had received $500 from a farm which two of my brothers and I had bought, borrowing money to buy the same. This money was borrowed by mortgaging some land our father had left to us. That year I gave at least $200 to the church work. I pledged and paid $100 a year to the big drive. I helped on associational missions, other local expense, and made my contribution to the preacher who held our meeting that next summer. After one year I was receiving about $200 from the churches, and I never received another penny from the farm. We lost the farm, and also the other land we had mortgaged. That next winter my wife and I almost lived off of canned blackberries I had picked the year before and rabbits the boys would kill and bring to us, along with some milk we got from a cow. It is true the church members brought us some corn and hay and cotton seed for feed. But no one scarcely had any money.
Right then and there I stopped and began to think. Had I not been preaching and practicing tithing? Had not the preachers all over the country been doing the same, and had not many, many people paid a tenth of their income in 1919? Didn't Mal. 3:10 say if we would bring all the tithes into God's storehouse that He would open the windows of heaven and pour out a great blessing? Why then had my income dropped from about $1200 to $200 in one year's time? Why were other people so broke that they could not pay their taxes, and some of them were also losing their farms? Had God forgotten to keep his promise, or had we made a wrong application of Mal. 3:10? I could not believe that God would fail to keep a promise. Then we must have made a wrong application of the scripture. Some would come to me with the question as to why our tithing had not worked? I had to have answer. I went back, not only to Mal. 3:8-10, but I also read from Mal. 3:7-12. The tithers had only been quoting the part of passage which they thought they could apply to us today. I read and studied the whole passage. Let us read it all and we will sac the application, and that the promise was only to the nation Israel, a people under the LAW.
The Whole Passage
"Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith THE LORD OF HOSTS. But ye said, wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerngs. Ye are CURSED WITH A CURSE: for ye have robbed me even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, saith THE LORD OF HOSTS, if I will not open the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground: neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith THE LORD OF HOSTS. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightful land, saith THE LORD OF HOSTS," Mal. 3:7-12.
Anyone should see that the LORD OF HOSTS was speaking directly to the nation of Israel, and to them only. The command to bring in all the tithes into the storehouse was made to A NATION. The promise to open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing on them was made to the nation of Israel. That it was a material blessing which was promised is seen by reading the verses which follow the 10th verse, which so many preachers try to quote and miss it. God promised to rebuke the devourer, and their land should be a delightsome land, and all NATIONS should call them blessed.
Then I noticed that God had CURSED with A CURSE. "Ye are CURSED with a CURSE; for ye have robbed me, even this whole NATION." What nation? The nation of Israel. Here we see a CURSE connected with the tithe. Israel was cursed because she had failed in the matter of tithes. Then I found in Gal. 3:10 where Paul said, "For as many as are of the works of the LAW are under THE CURSE: for it is written, CURSED is every one that continueth NOT in ALL THE THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW to do them." Right there, when I brought Mal. 3:9 and Gal. 3:10 together I could see that tithing was a part of the law. Israel had failed to keep that part of the LAW, and because they had failed to keep the part of the LAW which commanded tithing they were CURSED. Then I asked myself does God curse those whom Christ has redeemed? I got my answer in Gal. 3:13. "Christ hath redeemed us from THE CURSE OF THE LAW." If Christ has redeemed us from the CURSE OF THE LAW then He has redeemed us from any and all parts of the LAW which bring a CURSE. The command concerning the tithe brought a CURSE on Israel. If Christ has redeemed us from the CURSE of the LAW, then we are not under the LAW OF TITHING.
To preach the law of tithing as binding on the children of God today is to preach LEGALISM. It is to seek to put those whom Christ has redeemed from the CURSE of the law, back in bondage to the LAW again. It is to go behind the redemptive work of Christ and place every redeemed child of God on the ground of the nation of Israel which was under the law. When I saw this my sermon on tithing went into the waste basket to be preached no more. Not for the pleasure of any man, or any set of men, will I ever preach legalism any more. And may God forgive me because I one time in my ignorance followed those who were supposed to be leaders. But I did it ignorantly. Preachers blunder by following other men and not studying the matter out for themselves.
I said that almost all tithing preachers do not rightly quote Mal. 3:10. I have paid close attention when this passage is quoted. They almost always quote it "And prove me now herewith saith the Lord." But the passage reads, "And prove me now herewith saith the LORD OF HOSTS." I did not know when I was preaching tithing that the term "LORD OF HOSTS" is the Lord's title as the GOD OF ISRAEL, or GOD OF JACOB, and that such a title is nowhere found in connection with anything said to the churches. The tithing preachers would do well to look up on this title "LORD OF HOSTS" and see how it is used, and how and when it is never used. It would save them from many a blunder. At another time I shall bring proof that the words "LORD OF HOSTS" are only used in connection with God's dealing with Israel.
In that same passage in Malachi we read, "Even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ORDINANCES and have not kept them," Mal. 3:7. Then we read in Col. 2:13-14, "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting OF ORDINANCES that was against us, which was contrary to us, AND TOOK IT OUT OF THE WAY, nailing it to his cross." So the ORDINANCES from which Israel had gone away from the days of their fathers, and which had brought a CURSE on that whole nation, Christ took OUT OF THE WAY, and nailed them to His cross. Why do you tithing preachers try to pull the nails out of those old ORDINANCES which Christ nailed to the cross, and bring them and place them on the redeemed children of God? Christ nailed them to the cross and why not leave them there? Why try undo what Christ has done?
Tithing Before the Law
But someone says tithing antedated the law. So did animal sacrifices, the observance of the seventh day of the week, and circumcision in the flesh. They point to the fact that Abraham gave a tenth to Melchisedec. Yes, he gave him a tenth of the spoils of war, not a tenth of the increase of his flocks and herds. Abraham also practiced fleshly circumcision, and offered animal sacrifices. Are we therefore under obligation to offer animal sacrificess, or to practice circumcision in the flesh? The offering of sacrifices, circumcision in the flesh, and the observance the seventh day of the week were all brought over and embodied into the law, and made a part of the LAW. But the question not were animal sacrifices offered before the law, and under he law, but it is are we under obligation to offer animal sacrifices `today? The question is not did Abraham practice circumcision in the flesh, and was it observed under the law, but the question is - are we to practice circumcision in the flesh today? The question is not did they keep the seventh day of the week before the law (Ex. 16:22-26), and under the law, but the question is - are we to observe it today. Neither is the question as to whether tithing was practiced before the law, and under the law, but it is - are we under obligation to observe tithing today?
I shall bring proof that Jesus nowhere commanded His disciples to observe tithing, nor did He command them to teach their converts to observe it, and there is not one shred of evidence that they taught the churches to observe the law of the TENTH, nor is there any evidence that the churches ever made a practice of observing the law of the tenth, but there is plenty of evidence that they did not observe it.
Matthew 23:23 Considered
The advocates of tithing nearly always use Matt. 23:23 to prove that we should practice tithing today. This passage is against them, and proves that it is legalism.
"Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the WEIGHTIER MATTERS OF THE LAW, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ye ought to have done, and not to leave the others undone." This very passage puts tithing as a matter of the LAW, but not one of the weightier matters of the law. If tithing is a matter of the LAW, and we try to make it binding on the believer then we are trying to tie that much of the LAW on the believer. This is LEGALISM, unadultered, and is not pleasing to God.
But the tithers lay stress on the words "These ought ye to have done." But we would ask to whom was Jesus speaking in this place, to His disciples, or to the Pharisees who were under the law? Certainly the Pharisees, since they were under the LAW, and were endeavoring to keep the law, should have observed that part of the law which commanded tithing. The Pharisees were unbelievers, and hypocrites, and rejected Christ. Should we apply what Jesus said to a class of unbelievers and Christ rejecters to those whom Christ has redeemed? One recognized law of interpretation is to always notice to whom certain words are addressed. Is it right to take what Jesus spoke to unbelieving Pharisees, and who were under the law, and seek to apply the same to those who are under grace? The tithers are certainly in a bad way for scriptural proof when they have to bring up a scripture which applied only to a bunch of unbelieving and hypocritical Pharisees who were under the law, and try to apply the same to those whom Christ has redeemed from the law. The law only speaks to those who are under the law. "Now we know that what things soever the LAW saith, it saith to THEM WHO ARE UNDER THE LAW: (not to the one under GRACE,) that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God," Rom. 3:19. Then why try to apply words spoken to those under the LAW to those who are NOT under the LAW? Paul said, "For ye are NOT UNDER THE LAW, but under GRACE," Rom. 6:14.
I shall show that Jesus never used the word TITHE except when talking to the unbelieving Pharisees. He never said one word about tithing when speaking to His disciples. So He never said to any believer or saved person "These ought ye to have done," speaking of paying tithes. He spoke those words only to them who were under the LAW, and to people who were unsaved. It cannot be found where He ever said one word to saved people about paying tithes. This shall be proven in due time. Now isn't that the strangest kind of logic? Jesus never told the saved they should have paid tithes, but He told only unsaved people (The Pharisees) that they should have paid tithes. Therefore we should teach the saved, not the unsaved to pay tithes. Jesus taught only them who were under the law (The Pharisees) that they should have paid tithes. Therefore this proves that we should teach them under GRACE that they should tithe. Christ never said a thing about tithing but to the Pharisees, who had not been redeemed from the law. Therefore that proves that we should teach those whom Christ has redeemed from the law that they should tithe.
This is the logic of those who use Matt. 23:23 to try to prove that God's redeemed children of today are under obligation to pay tithes. The man who would call this logic certainly has a warped sense of reasoning. But this is the force of their logic when they use Matt. 23:23 to prove that we should observe tithing today.
Will Tithing Preachers Follow the Example of Jesus?
It can be shown where Jesus said to the hypocritical unbelieving pharisees that they should have paid tithes. Who will say that those unbelieving Pharisees were saved people? So Jesus taught unsaved people that they should have paid tithes. Where is the Baptist preacher today who will follow the example of Jesus and preach to the lost who hear them that they are under obligation to practice tithing? I have never yet heard a Baptist preacher preach this. Catholics and others have taught it and have enforced it by the law of the state. I shall bring proof of this. But I never of a Baptist preacher preaching that the unsaved should practice tithing. But, to follow the example of Jesus, they must teach tithing to unsaved people. Why did Jesus teach those unsaved Pharisees that they should have practiced tithing? Because were under the LAW, and the law demanded it.
On the other hand Jesus, so far as the Bible record is concerned, refrained from teaching His disciples, saved people, that they were under obligation to observe tithing. Unlike Jesus, the tithing preachers teach the saved that they are under obligation to observe tithing. If they think they can find where Jesus ever said one word to his disciples about tithing then let them produce the passage which shows that He did. They cannot find that passage. We only find 3 places in which Jesus ever used the word TITHE. Those three places are in Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42 and Luke 18:9-13. In each of these places Jesus was speaking directly to the Pharisees. So Jesus refrained from teaching tithing to His disciples. But, unlike Jesus, the tithing preachers teach the saved that they should practice tithing. In this they have departed from the example of Jesus.
Is there a reason why Jesus never said a word to His disciples about tithing? There is, and it is a good reason. Tithing is a matter of the LAW, and the Lord's people are not under the law. "Ye are not under the LAW, but under GRACE," Rom. 6:14. "Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE OF THE LAW," Gal. 3:13. The law of tithing brought a CURSE on the nation of Israel. "But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and in offerings. Ye are CURSED with a CURSE, even this whole nation," Mal. 3:8-9. If Christ has redeemed us from THE CURSE OF THE LAW, He has also redeemed us from that which brought the CURSE. To go back to the law of tithing is to go back of the redemptive work of Christ. It means to cease to follow Christ and go back to follow Moses. "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the yen is upon their heart," II Cor. 3:15.
The tither can find no proof where Christ, during His personal ministry, ever
taught His disciples (saved people) that they were to observe tithing. Therefore
the tithing preachers are not following the pattern of teaching laid down by
Jesus Christ. They have departed from His way of teaching in this respect. We
are not to
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW." The old system of service, worship, and giving, has passed away. He is under a new system of worship and service. Christianity is not just a piece of patchwork to patch up the old LAW. Jesus said, "No man putteth, a piece of new cloth on an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse," Matt. 9:16. The tithers are trying to patch up the law with the new system which Jesus brought in.
Proof That Tithing Belongs To The Law
When Jesus said to those tithing Pharisees that they had omitted the weightier matters of the LAW He was showing that TITHING is a matter of the LAW. Another passage which teaches that TITHING is a matter of the LAW is Heb. 7:5. "And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who received the office of the priesthood, have a command to take TITHES of the people, ACCORDING TO THE LAW, that is, of their own brethren." Still another passage which shows that tithing is a commandment of the LAW and belongs to the LAW is Lev. 27:30-34. "And all the tithes of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord, and if any man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto a fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithes of the herd, or of the flock, even whatsoever passeth under the rod, the TENTH shall be holy unto the Lord. He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall ye change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed. These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL IN SINAI."
This last passage states that God gave these commandments FOR THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, and that He gave them in Sinai. We find that Sinai is inseparably connected with the LAW and with BONDAGE: "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law do ye not hear the LAW. For it is written that Abraham sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these ARE the two COVENANTS; the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to BONDAGE, which is Agar (or Hagar), Gal. 4:21-24.
The last passage quoted shows that Agar, called Hagar in the Testament, represents the old covenant which was given at Sinai. We are also told that this covenant, given at Sinai, gendereth to BONDAGE. We have also learned that it was at that God gave to Israel the command about tithing. This connects tithing with the law, the old covenant, and connects it BONDAGE. Thus those who would put God's children under the command to pay tithes would put them under the old covenant, bring them under BONDAGE to the Law. Surely, as Paul said in I Tim. 1:5-7, those who would put us under the LAW, "Turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." I Tim. 1:5-7. Since tithing is a matter of the LAW, and I have proved it was with three different passages of scripture, then, to preach tithing for today is to preach LEGALISM.
To Place One Under One Point of the Law Is To Place Him Under ALL THE LAW
The word of God teaches that when one obligates himself to keep one part of the
LAW he obligates himself to keep all the LAW.
"I once more protest and testify
to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to
practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances," Gal. 5:3. Amplified New
Testament. "For as many as are of the works of the LAW are under THE CURSE: for it is written, CURSED is every one that continueth not in ALL THINGS which arc written in the book of the LAW to do them," Gal. 3:10. Since tithing is a matter of the LAW, then the one who obligates himself to keep the law concerning the tithe has obligated himself to keep all that is written in the law. That means he is under obligation to practice circumcision in
the flesh, to observe the old law of the seventh day of the week, to offer animal sacrifices, and the laws which forbid the eating of pork and catfish. There is nothing to justify the idea, that we can pick and cull over the law, and take out this part and say we will keep that, and will leave out other parts. Neither can we find any justification for bringing any part of the old covenant over and incorporating it into the new system which we have after the reformation.
"Then verily the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was a pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant (the old covenant); and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as yet the first tabernacle was yet standing: which were figures for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacfifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and CARNAL ORDINANCES, imposed on them UNTIL THE TIME OF REFORMATION," Heb. 9:1-10.
From this passage we find that the carnal ordinances of the old covenant were only imposed UNTIL THE TIME OF THE REFORMATION, and not beyond that time. In Heb. 10:9 we read, "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second." Now Jesus did not just take away part of the old COVENANT, and bring another part over into the NEW SYSTEM OF THINGS, but He took it all away, bringing no part of the LAW over into the new system of worship and service. "But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated ALL INTERCOURSE (My capitals) with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under (obedience to) the old code of written regulations, but (under obedience to the promptings) of the Spirit in newness (of life)," Rom. 7:6. The Amplified New Testament Translation. The words in the brackets with the exception of "My capitals" are not mine, but found in the translation.
This is in keeping with Gal. 5:18. "But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the LAW." This means that if we are led of the Spirit we are not under any part of the law. The passage quoted above tells us that "We are discharged from the LAW and have terminated ALL INTERCOURSE WITH it." This words ALL takes in ALL that was embodied in the law of Moses. Since it has been proven that tithing was a part of the LAW, if we have been discharged from the LAW and ALL INTERCOURSE with it has been terminated then all intercourse with tithing has ceased. That law of tithing was given to Israel at Sinai, as I have shown with Lev. 27:30-34, and belongs to the old covenant, symbolized by Hagar (Gal. 3:21-24), and as Paul says, it "Gendereth unto bondage.” The law of tithing passed away with the law concerning keeping the old Sabbath, which was the seventh day of the week, (Ex. 20:8-10), with the offering of animal sacrifices, the observance of certain feasts, fleshly circumcision, and the laws concerning the eating of certain kinds of meats.
Tithing and The Bible Numbers
I have given proof with Matt. 23:23; Heb. 7:5 and Lev. 27: that tithing, or the giving of the TENTH, belonged to the LAW. Now I shall prove the same by the use of Bible numbers. The number TEN is the number which stands for the LAW. There were TEN commandments which were written in tables of stone. In Gal. 4:21-24 Paul makes it plain that Agar, called Hagar in old scriptures, represents the LAW. When we read Gen. 16:3 we find that Sarai gave Hagar to Abram to be his wife after they dwelt TEN years in Canaan. In this same verse the name of occurs for the TENTH time in the Bible. There are TEN instances to tithing in the New Testament. I list below the places it is mentioned:
1. Matt. 23:23 6. Heb. 7:5
2. Luke 11:42 7. Heb. 7:6
3. Luke 18:12 8. Heb. 7:8
4. Heb. 7:2 9. Heb. 7:9
5. Heb. 7:4 10. Heb. 7:9
In Heb. 7:2 and 7:4 the word "Tenth" is used, but in the other places the word "Tithe" is used. In Heb. 7:1-2 it says that Abraham gave a tenth to Melchisedec. In Heb. 7:6 it says that he (Melchisedec) received tithes of Abraham. This makes just 10 references to the giving of tithes, or the TENTH, in the New Testament scriptures. This is the number for the LAW.
Tithing Was Not Included In The Great Commission
I have already shown that Jesus only used the word "Tithe" 3 times, and in every case He was talking directly to the Pharisees, and in no case was He speaking to His disciples. Those 3 places are Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42 and Luke 18:12. When Jesus gave the great commission He said, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU," Matt. 28:19-20. Since no proof can be brought that Jesus taught His disciples they were to OBSERVE TITHING, then they were not commanded to teach others to OBSERVE TITHING. Baptist preachers will condemn others for changing the great commission with reference to baptism, and rightly so. Then some of those same preachers will turn around and add tithing to that commission, and will teach their church members that they should OBSERVE TITHING.