Three Cheers for Almsgiving

gbradepp

Every Bible reader hopes they are “Rightly dividing the Word.”

God honored Abel’s sacrifice because Cain failed to “divide rightly” (Genesis 4:7-Septuagint).  Hebrews 11:4 also adds, “Abel’s offering was made in faith.”

As Irenaeus and other Church Fathers pointed out, the Jews gave a tithe while Jesus’ advice to the rich young ruler was to sell everything (cf.  Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22).   Most Christians don’t sell everything or even tithe.  Why the change?  The last days promise a “falling away.”  However,  “giving to God” is intensely personal and has a lot to do with your calling.  One thing we know for certain, Any gift offered in faith will be rewarded (cf. Mark 10:29).

In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8, Paul contrasts his ministry with the false teachers.  Unlike the Pharisees, he is free from guile, error, uncleanness or an attempt to manipulate by flattery (i.e. greed).  As an apostle, his office gave him the right to demand support but never mentioned tithing.  Even though tithing was common outside of Christianity,  Paul opts instead for what Jesus and the rest of Scripture emphasized,  almsgiving.

Skeptical? 


Check out these Old and New Testament passages:


Old Testament:  Isaiah 58:6–9,  Pr 3:27–28, Dt 15:7–8, 10–11, Ps 41:2, Pr 3:9–10, 5:16, 11:24–25, 13:8, 14:21, 31, 16:6, 19:17, 21:13, 22:9, 28:27, Ec 11:6, 12:2, 4, 12, Daniel 4:27

New Testament: Mt 6:1–18, Lk 11:41, Jas 2:15–16, Mt 25:31–46, Lk 3:11, Heb 13:3, 1 Jn 3:17, 2 Co 9:6–7, Mt 12:43–44, 5:7, 10:42, Lk 6:30, 38, 12:33, 16:9, 19:8–9, Ac 9:36, 10:1–2, 11:29–30, 20:35, Ro 12:20, 1 Co 13:3, 2 Co 8:7–9, 11–12, 14, 9:10–11, Ga 5:13, 6:9–10, 2 Th 3:13, 1 Ti 5:16, Heb 6:10, 13:15, Re 2:19.


Why so much Scripture on Almsgiving?

God knows that when you give money or goods to the poor and you combine it with prayer and fasting, it changes you on the inside and you become more and more like our heroes of faith (cf. Hebrews 11).

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