Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14
Sometimes believers can get caught up in rules. We think we have to act a certain way, and we think we have to do certain things. Sometimes we even bury ourselves in rules, trying so hard to make sure we do this and we don’t do that. This is a prominent subject in Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians. For some reason, I didn’t see this until just the past few months. I don’t know why I didn’t see it, because it’s right there. Paul emphatically says that we are not under law. We are under grace!
That is the whole point of living with faith and understanding in Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus asks us to give up the law. It asks us to give up the Ten Commandments, and to give up our tendency to legalism. Jesus said, “I have not come to break the law, I have come to fulfill it.” He said, “When I die, I am dying to that law. And when I rise again, I am raising up a new ideal, which is grace. It’s a new life full of grace. And you won’t have to live by rules.”
Paul writes in Romans that grace abounds over sin. There is no condemnation. And when you read between the lines in Romans, you can hear the questions. People are clearly telling Paul, “So you’re saying that we can just live in sin then.” And Paul says, “Of course not! I am saying that if you live by the Spirit, then you’re going to act like the Spirit.” In other words, if you live in grace, you’ll naturally live a righteous life.
Those who live in grace, Paul says, will have freedom. Those who live in grace just take what’s dealt, and they deal with it. They don’t have to live in a world boxed up by rules, where bad things happen when the rules get broken.
Think about tithing. If you give because you have to, it becomes a burden. You’re not going to be a cheerful giver. But in the life of grace, there is no rule about tithing. In the Spirit-led life of grace, the Spirit says to you, “Hey, be a cheerful giver.” That’s all it says. You don’t see the word “tithe” in the New Testament, because in the new covenant, there is no such thing as tithing.
Are you going to want to tithe? Are you going to want to give? Yes! I truly believe you will. You’re going to want to help support good things. You will want to help support your church. You will want to help people in the ministry, or help people who are in poverty. You’ll start to feel like this is a part of life. That righteous life will be inside of you, the Spirit at work.
If your church preaches that you have to tithe, you might not feel much enthusiasm for it. But if someone says, “Hey man, be a cheerful giver! Give whatever you feel,” then all of a sudden you’ll find yourself wanting to give more. It’s good to be able to do something because you want to do it, not because you have to do it. It’s very freeing!