Giving in the Present Dispensation of the Grace of God
I. God has ordained that the man who preaches (i.e. being involved in the transformation of sinners to babes in Christ, and the babe into an approved workman of God through obedience to 2 Timothy 2:15) the Gospel of the Grace of God (a.k.a the gospel of the uncircumcision which was committed unto Paul the apostle-Gal 2:7), is to have his physical needs met by those to hom he teaches the Truth:
"If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?.....Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." 1 Corinthians 9:11, 14
"Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things." Galatians 6:6
Please note that there can be a failure:
II. The mind of the believer/giver must be spiritual enlightened according the present Truth of God which is resident within the heart (i.e. that house of Sound Doctrine contained in the inner man). The willingness of the mind is to precede the actual performance of giving:
"Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."
2 Corinthians 8:11-12
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7
Note: The hearts purpose is not generated by itself for God has revealed that man's heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked--Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:18. The human heart will even trick its owner; thus, the pronouncement that only God knows the heart. Man's heart is to be fully persuaded through the knowledge and persuasion of the Lord Jesus Christ--Romans 14:5,14.
III. God's ordained pattern of living grace giving is understood through the apostle Paul's orders to the One Body of Christ, which is the church:
"Upon the first day of the week...." 1 Corinthians 16:2
"Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have." 2 Corinthians 8:11
"...let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."
1 Corinthians 16:2
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3
"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;" 1 Timothy 6:17-18
"...lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come." 1 Corinthians 16:2
Question: How much do I give living under God's Dispensation of Grace? Do the Scriptures set for me as a grace believer a percentage of my wealth that I am to give? Is my instruction for obedience to my Saviour the tithe of Abram's day wherein he gave to Melchizedek tithes of all? This was tithing 430 years before the Law as entrusted to Moses. Or, is it the tithe of the Mosaic Law which ranged up to 30% in some years?
Answer: Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles and sent to the Gentiles
so that during the present Dispensation of the Grace of God the nations could
find obedience to God in word and deed, instructed believers in the principle of
what tithing taught under the Law: the issue of systematic giving. In other
words, Paul taught the procedure of godly giving under grace and did not teach
the letter of the tithing law or a set portion/amount. The giver, with spiritual
intelligence from a renewed mind of conviction through the Word of Truth rightly
divided, faithfully respond to the Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection life
which saves the saints from the ravaging effects of the headship of Adam--Romans
5:10; Galatians 2:20;
2 Corinthians 4:10-11.
"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God." 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
There are two verses contained in Paul's writings that seem to puzzle grace believers when they study the subject of financial giving. Those verses are:
"But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
2 Corinthians 9:6
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." Galatians 6:7-8
These two references were written by Paul in the context of the saints responding to the riches of God's grace by their support of effective ministry. Furthermore, when Paul writes about God loving a cheerful giver the next verse states:
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" 2 Corinthians 9:8
In the Dispensation of the Grace of God wherein every believer is graced with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3) how could it be that God has Paul write such clear passages about sowing and reaping? The answer lies within other verses of Paul's epistles.
As Paul writes 2 Corinthians 9:8, he is not writing about God providing a full stomach, money in hand with all bills paid, a house bought and paid for with two cars and a boat in the garage, and a lake home--the prosperity gospel of which false preachers advance upon ignorant brethren. In this same Epistle (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) Paul writes about his life of ministry wherein he had suffered weariness, painfulness, hunger, thirst, coldness, and nakedness, just to quote a few. Even in the much abused passage of Philippians 4:19 where it is written, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" Paul also writes in verse 12 of that same chapter that he suffered need as a grace believer. And yet, he still writes with great persuasion and personal experience that God is able to make all grace abound towards the saint so that they have all sufficiency to abound in every good work.
It would appear then, that the sufficiency is not of this world; not of the physical; not of the things seen, but of things unseen which can only be appropriated and appreciated by faith which worketh by love. A love for God and the things He esteems for our good:
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
As it was for Paul so it is for others of the One Body, that even weariness, painfulness, hunger, thirst, coldness, and nakedness works for our good through the provision of God great grace bestowed upon us in Christ.
Our human understanding likes to view Paul's exhortation about reaping bountifully as being on the physical plane....I'll give $10, God will give $100. BUT the Scriptural doctrine for the present Dispensation does not teach such. The truth is that sowing to the flesh (carnal affections on the temporal) effect our personal adjustment to God's glorious truth of living the message of grace. Sowing to the Spiritual (spiritual attitudes on the eternal) positions the believer so that he enjoys the riches of God's grace in Christ.
The believer responds to God in faith which worketh by love, being mature and
knowing "...the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet
for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich"
2 Corinthians 8:9. This verse is a great definition of GRACE--
Flowing from that inner appreciation of our wealth in Christ we willingly give the carnal things to keep the Message and the messenger going. This is proving the sincerity of your love, giving thanks unto God for His unspeakable gift, our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ--2 Corinthians 8:9; 9:15.