New Testament (spiritual) giving – Part 9
Let us continue this week to look at some of the Apostolic teachings on giving in the New Testament with particular emphasis on 2 Cor. 8:1-12 (TLB). We saw that giving is a ministry and requires a grace that comes only from God. It is not something to be coerced either by law or by curse. The other Apostolic teaching is found in 2 Cor. 9:1-8 (TLB). Here again, we see Paul making collections for the saints in Jerusalem. The first thing we noticed was that Paul did not want it to appear, as if they were giving under pressure. Please note, God’s children can be challenged and provoked as Paul had done so many times; but they must not be pressured by the Mosaic Law to give, for God loves a cheerful giver.
He went further to lay another spiritual giving benchmark; if you sow sparingly you reap sparingly and if you sow bountifully you reap bountifully. Give, he says, according as you purpose in your heart by the Holy Spirit, not according to legalistic giving under Judaism religion. Finally he emphasizes the grace of God that provides for you to meet your needs and have enough left over to give to others. It is God that minister seed to the sower and can teach you to become a giver who gives more and more.
Part of the Pauline Apostolic teaching on giving is directed at the rich in, 1 Tim. 6:17-19. He charged them not to be high-minded, nor to trust in their uncertain riches, but in the living God. They should do good with their riches, ready to distribute and willing to communicate. This Paul, an exponent of the Law, is persuading, challenging and provoking them, using the Divine reward system. Not once did he put them under the pressure of the Mosaic Law. Spiritual giving requires an attitude that can be conditioned only by the Holy Spirit.
In the New Testament, giving is by grace, not by Law. No wonder Romans 12:5-7 speaks about gifts conferred upon us by God’s grace. One of such gifts is to minister (give). He teaches the saints to distribute to the necessities of the saints (Rm. 12:13). Here are some of the New Testament doctrine on giving: Luke 6:38 shows us the Divine reward system of the New Testament. He says give and it shall be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom. Therefore, the measure you use to give is critical here. Again, please note there is no fixation on the 10 per cent tithe. Luke 12:48 says ‘unto whom much is given, much is expected’. In the New Testament God gave us the whole of Himself not one-tenth. God did not die for natural Israel, He died for spiritual Israel; He expects much from us, definitely much more than 10 per cent. We will round off these teachings next week by looking at the Laws of spiritual giving. God bless you richly.
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• Bro. Kunle Adigun, Friends of the Bridegroom International Ministries (FOBIM)