Gal. 3:12: But the law is not of faith, rather, "The one who does them shall live by them."
ESV - 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them.
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The term 'tithe' means tenth, such as when Abraham tithed ten percent of the spoils of war to Melchizadek, King of Salem. For the Israelites, specific laws were given about the tithe regarding what it was, when it was to be given, who it was for, etc. For example, the tithe was on the increase of goods (produce, animals, spices, etc.) and was given over to the Levites for their livelihood. The Levites, in turn, tithed to the High Priest. There was more than one tithe - the second tithe being kept by the family to spend at the annual Feast of Tabernacles, the feast shared with the poor and the Levite. A third tithe was taken every third year of seven (or perhaps every three years), in which the goods were stored up in one's local town for distribution to the poor. The tithe did not pay for temple maintenance, as labor was conducted by the Levites and a 'temple tax' on each Israelite provided any money required. The Israelite tithe cannot be given by Christians today, since there is no physical temple to tithe to nor Levitical priests to support. In fact, all believers are the temple of God (individually and collectively), and we are all now priests in the service of Jesus, our High Priest (I Pet 2:9, Rev 1:6) Thus, a tithe 'under the law' can't be given, even if a Christian wanted to! Across Christianity, there are a wide variety of approaches to giving, offerings, and 'tithes:' Some Christians choose to take the basic meaning of tithe (tenth) as a general guideline for giving to the ministry of the church, such as giving 10% of their income to a specific local church building, or ensuring that all their donations to local and global ministries are at least 10% of their income. A few even donate a tenth of new goods they purchase, such as food and clothing, to be closer to the nature of the Old Testament tithe. Still others choose to give out of generosity and wherever they see need, not binding themselves to a '10%' rule, following Jesus' and the Apostles many teachings on it being the heart of a giver that matters. (II Cor 9:7, Mk 12:43-44, Acts 4:32, etc.) In any of these cases, the giving would be done out of faith and not via the law, as the givers might use the principal of a tenth as a guideline, but do not view it as a mandatory task or 'compulsion' they are bound to follow (II Cor 9:7.) There are also many Christians who practice giving a tenth of their income, usually to a local church building they attend, as a regular rule and believe it to be mandatory. While not the same as keeping the OT law, which as mentioned previously would be impossible when it comes to the tithe without a temple or Levitical priesthood, this is still a form of man-made law-keeping vs. Acting in faith. Gal 3:12 and surrounding verses speak of the pitfalls of trying to live by the law. It isn't that the law is 'bad' - but that if one tries to live by the law or be perfected by the law, one will necessarily perish by the law. It only takes one infraction to be a 'lawbreaker' (James 2:10) - and all sin and fall short. Gal 3:10-14: "For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly, no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us...He redeemed us...so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. When it comes to what we give for ministry, local and abroad, in time, talent, money, and resources, we are to give cheerfully and not out of a sense of compulsion (II Cor 9:7). We should be on the lookout for needs, ready and willing to give, vs. Trying to fulfill a specific numerical target (Acts 4:32, I Cor 6:1-4, II Cor 8:1-15.)
Tithing under the law was an obligation. Under grace, it is an act of your free will and love. If you read the book of James as a reference to the question it explains that the works we do, including tithes, should be done out of love and respect for Christ. Works without love are empty gestures and these are not accepted by God or credited to us as genuine acts of faith. If you tithe because it is in your heart to do so and the indwelling Holy Spirit is encouraging you to give because God is writing his laws in our hearts, then give with a smile and a generous heart. Works without faith and spirit are dead, but if you are full of the spirit that grants life then the works (such as tithing) will come out of you as naturally as a tree bears fruit. God wants a willing heart but he also knows our circumstances and will take all that you offer him from a place off love and respect. Note that I said His laws and not THE law, because they are two different things. Jesus establised a new covenant through his death and resurrection. Everything prior to the new covenant is taken as fulfilled. To tithe out of love is righteous, anything done out of obligation to the law only is a dead work with no value.
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