Evangelicals disagree about how the Old Testament law functions as a normative ethic for Christians. Has the law been abrogated? Fulfilled in Christ? Is it still morally binding? When it comes to the ten commandments, nine of the ten are directly reiterated by the apostles in the New Testament, so the binding nature of those commands is a no-brainer. Some controversy still exists about keeping the Sabbath since it isn’t reiterated in the New Testament in so many words.
One other issue that sometimes comes into contention is the tithe. Under the Old Covenant, God’s people were required to give a tenth of all of their increase. Some people believe that this tithe is still required of Christians today, and others do not think that it is required (since the law has been abrogated). Which view is correct?
Kevin DeYoung has some wise words on this question that point the way forward, even if we don’t all agree on the way that the Old Covenant relates to the new. DeYoung writes:
Whether the Old Testament requirement is a binding prescription or not, I find it hard to imagine that Western Christians who have seen the glory of God in the face of Christ and enjoy great prosperity, would want to give less than was required of the poorest Israelite. Statistics consistently show that Protestants give less than 3% of their income to their churches. A tithe, for most churchgoers, would be a huge step in the right direction.
He’s right. New Covenant freedom from the law (however you define it) should not induce us to do less than what was required in the previous dispensation. The glory of the New Covenant outshines the light of the old (2 Corinthians 3:10-11), and it makes sense that our response in giving would be commensurate. Let’s give liberally, and let the starting-point for our stewardship be a tenth of what we gross.
Acts 2:44-45 “And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.”