Romans 8:32 – He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
2 Peter 1:2 – Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Evangelism remains a cardinal aspect of the Christian’s way of life. The call on us to “go ye…” by Jesus Christ cannot be over-emphasized especially in times like this when it seems the world itself is reeling from the weight of the sins of men. There is no other time in the history of the world that men need to hear the message of the saving works of Jesus Christ than now. But it seems to me that the world is tired of the gospel. An average non-Christian has heard these words “give your life to Christ…” so many times that it is making little sense to them day by day and thus there is a need to trust God for more creative ways of passing across the message of the cross to a world desperately in need of hearing it. As we endeavor to do this as Christians, we must also update ourselves about certain realities in the world today and the need for us as Christians to up our game, quit religion and avail ourselves as vessels to God to be used as his mouth piece to witness Jesus to a world in dire need of the salvation message.
One reality that we Christian seem not to notice about the mindset of a non Christian is the fact that many of such people cannot afford to be Christians. I use the word “afford” to drive home the fact that the Christianity that many espouse today cost too much financially and people cannot just afford to pay for it; and the best way of doing this is just to keep away from the gospel entirely. There is a certain false teaching in the heart and life of the Christian church today that says that for one to be a good Christian such an individual must pay a tithe of his income to a Christian clergy or to the church he worships in. And for this reason, many hard working and sensible individuals who, at one time or the other had considered the Christian message have been put off and relapsed into a world of sin. There is no scripture in the whole of the bible that says for one to be a Christian or for one to be a good Christian or for one to get to heaven, such an individual must pay a tithe of his weekly or monthly income to a clergy or church. To claim such is to put a sword through the heart of the gospel Jesus called the church to propagate around the world. The eternal gospel that God called us to tell the world is that Jesus Christ died a painful death on a Roman Cross to purchase salvation for the world. In doing this, Jesus paid for all that needs to be paid for. Anyone that believes the gospel of Jesus is not required to pay anything more both to be a Christian or to remain a Christian. Man’s salvation is fully paid for by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Salvation is God’s free gift to human beings and any man can partake of this salvation by only believing in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
This sort of conditional and false gospel tried to creep into the body of Christ in the early days of the apostles too. Christianity having been borne from a Jewish tradition was in danger of being influenced by Judaism, when some individuals began to say people could not be saved except they were circumcised first (Acts 15:1). This heresy was quickly dispelled by the apostles of Jesus when they showed the implication of Jesus’s dying on our faith: “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” (Acts 15:11). The grace of God in the cross of Jesus is the fact that God gives salvation freely to men and no one needs to work to earn it, talk less of paying for it. Grace is a favour that is not merited neither can it be paid for. The doctrine that teaches that Christians must pay tithe to their local churches is a false doctrine that is the result of a wrong interpretation of the tithe God demanded from the Children of Israel in the Old Testament as a kind of taxation to support the religious and civil life of those people. The tithe of the Old Testament is ten percent of the agricultural produce from God’s holy land. A land that God gave to the children of Israel and He instituted the tithe from any produce off that Land to be a paid to a tribe, the levites, who had no inheritance on the land. This tithe was expected to paid once, following the harvest, and was to be given to the levithes, who in turn paid a tithe of what they received to the priests for their own upkeep. The tithe was never money, even though money existed in Old Testament times. That system of tithing is however, today, defunct and obsolete, because the church of Jesus Christ is not physical Israel and there are no levities to pay tithes to today.
Jesus has paid all that needs to be paid and God is not demanding anything from anyone save for simple faith in what Jesus has done on the cross for sinful humanity. What did Jesus do? God created a good world. A world devoid of sin, sickness, poverty and every sort of ill. He created man and put man in the world he created but man sinned and lost his relationship with God. In spite of this set back, God put in motion another plan to redeem man. When Jesus was to be born, the reason for his coming was stated: He was to come and save man from his sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus did this by living a sinless life on earth by fulfilling the righteous requirements of the laws God had given Moses. In the laws of Moses, men could pay for their sins by killing a lamb. However, Jesus, who had lived the law perfectly, became a sinless lamb, whom God set forth as a propitiation for our sin. Like in the days of Moses, God put the sins of the whole world on Jesus and He died as the sacrificial Lamb of God for the sins of all men. Jesus paid for our sins by his death on a Roman Cross. This is what Jesus did.
But the story did not end there, Jesus would however, rise up from the dead after three days in the grave, having purchased eternal salvation for all who will believe in Him. This is the crux of the gospel message and this is what satan has been attacking from all times. When a man, having heard the gospel message, is convicted of his sins and repents before God, such a man is forgiven by God and is made a new creation in Christ. Such an individual is saved and has begun a glorious journey in God that started in grace and will most certainly end in grace. Such an individual need not pay a penny to be saved, to remain saved or to be saved into God’s glorious kingdom.
To conclude this essay, I wish to offer a proper and balanced perspective on the whole matter of money in the Christian church. While God does not demand we pay tithes or offering to be members of the Church His Son purchased with His blood, God demands our love. The truth is that a genuinely born-again individual will have God’s love shed abroad in his heart. He will see life from a new perspective: he would love God and he would love human beings. It is this love God has placed in the heart of such a converted fellow that leads him to give because love always gives. This giving is not by compulsion (2Corinthians 9:7) as is falsely depicted by the doctrine of tithing, but free will. What this free will giving shall be is not a matter for any church or pastor to determine for any of God’s saints: an individual may be so blessed by God that he determines in his heart to give 10% of his income to support the church were he is being discipled. That is just fine; but what he gives is not a tithe but a tenth of his income.
Despite the position I have taken in this essay I still encourage giving to the church because of the great need for the propagation of the gospel in these last days. There is the need for more money in mission works to parts of the world that have never heard the gospel message; there is the need to take care of the weak in the church: widows, orphans, the sick, homeless, jobless, etc. And there is the need to minister our physical blessings to our Pastors, as they minister spiritual things to us. All of these needs in church can be adequately taken care of by graceful, sacrificial, free willed offering; without the need to impose the false burden of tithe paying on the flock of God.
The message of this essay is that salvation is free: fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. We cannot purchase salvation by good works, circumcision or by tithing. God is calling on every person who is not a Christian to re consider the gospel message, not in the light of the false one that the demands money from you but in the light of the true gospel that says God does not desire a penny from you; rather, God desires you. God has fully paid for your salvation in Christ Jesus and you need not pay anything to receive it or to keep it. Every human being created by God can afford to be a Christian because salvation in Jesus Christ is free!