Thursday, June 11, 2009

The law is a package deal

Darin Hufford’s podcast “Giving in the Wild” has generated a lot of discussion regarding whether tithing applies to us today as New Testament believers. As I read the comments, it occurred to me that the Old Testament laws are a package deal.

Although there were 613 different laws that comprise the law, God treated all 613 as a single unit. The Israelites couldn’t just pick and choose which ones they were going to obey and then ignore the rest. Each of the 613 had to be kept perfectly or the person was considered to have broken the entire law.

The same is true today. If you choose to put yourself under any part of the law, you’ve bound yourself to keep all of it. In the discussion about Darin’s podcast, one person was adamant that the law on tithing had to be obeyed. If that’s the person’s mindset, then she needs to keep the law on tithing PERFECTLY. Just bringing a tenth of her income to church and then putting it in the offering plate does NOT fulfill the law on tithing perfectly since the law on tithing is a series of very different laws. In addition to tithing, that person has also bound herself to keep the other 612 laws.

How stressful and how impossible!

No one can keep the law perfectly and no one ever has except for Jesus. He’s the only person who perfectly fulfilled the law.

The good news is that God never untended for us to keep the law. Its purpose was to enable us to see our inability and to cause us to come to Jesus. So, when we attempt to keep the law, we’ve rejected Jesus’ sacrifice in that area of our lives.

Jesus came to set us free from the Old Testament law with its impossible demands. Today, we're no longer bound by the Old Testament law. Instead, we're now bound by the New Testament law of love. No longer are we bound to an endless cycle of striving and defeat by trying to follow a long list of do's and don’ts . Instead, we're now free to follow love.

God is after our hearts. He put his law in our hearts and has filled us with himself. Now, we give cheerfully because his love in our hearts.

I’ve written several posts on the subject of tithing and giving. To read those, follow the links given below.

Learning to give out in the wild
Majoring in the minors
Great resources to learn more about tithing


Bino M. said...

Aida - Well said!

Aida said...

Thanks, Bino.

lionwoman said...

Thank you, Aida :-D. I read the comments and it's amazing how shrouded simple truths can become when Christianity is institutionalized.

Like the Israelites in the desert, many Christians today seem to consider themselves capable of keeping the law to earn their righteousness. Many of us are still shedding these old mindsets; it's a journey. The truly sad thing is when people staunchly cling to the old mindsets in the face of something much better.

Jim Robbins said...

"God is after our hearts. He put his law in our hearts and has filled us with himself." So true, Aida. Because he has so perfectly fulfilled the spirit of the law, and has united his obedient heart with ours (united them as one), we need not strive to keep the law -- we simply let his complete love have full permission in us.

Joel B. said...

Yep indeed, this is awesome, Aida!

Gal 3:10-12
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them."

Put this together with James' words about how if you keep all laws but break just one law, you're guilty of all, and there's a very strong case made that if anyone wants to live by one law, he/she must live by all laws --- which, as you say, no one has ever done nor can ever do.

That whole tithing thing... don't get me started!!! LOL =D

Aida said...

Amy, I'm so thankful that I don’t have to keep the law especially since I wasn’t doing a very good job anyway. The insecurity revealed in those comments was very sad and I’m amazed that she wasn’t thrilled to know that she was now free to follow her heart instead of a set of laws.

Beautifully said, Jim. It’s really so simple and yet we miss it because we’re so bound by our traditions.

Thanks for those scriptures, Joel. Those were the ones I was thinking about but didn’t take the time to look up so I’m glad you did it for me. Trying to keep the law is a scary thing because it’s impossible, yet, we continue to try and we ignore the fact that the Israelites tried and failed and so will we.