The Christian life is not made up of keeping laws to obtain salvation. We are told that we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy. The Galatians were asked, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2,3) The Apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth within me, and the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) “I live by faith,” he said.
How can we live by faith and give by law? Yet, many Christians do just that. While we realize that salvation can never come to us by keeping the law, we practice law giving by keeping the Old Testament law on giving. Paul said, “We walk by faith, and not by sight.” We practice sight giving, not faith giving. Sight giving involves giving from a resource that I can see. For example, we tell God, “Put some money in my hand, and I will give part of it back to you.” This was the giving of the Old Testament. It involved tithing, which is giving a tenth of what you have or receive. The tithe was required giving.
Since all of the Christian life is to be one of faith, it follows that the giving principle taught in the New Testament would be one of faith, as well. We are to give as God has prospered us, First Corinthians 16:2. we are also to give by faith, anticipating God supplying our need, both for what we will give, and for what we need.
Paul taught the Philippians that God would supply all of their need, because they had met Paul’s need through faith giving. In Philippians 4:10-19, Paul tells the believers at Philippi that God would supply their need, since they had given to supply Paul’s need along with his co-worker’s need. They had given out of a resource that they needed, trusting that God would meet their need.
The churches in Macedonia gave up to their potential and beyond, by faith. They, though in extreme poverty, gave beyond what would have been possible from their resources. They gave what they did not have. (Second Corinthians 8:2) They gave by faith.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things unseen.” (Hebrews 11:1) We are also told that “without faith it is impossible to please Him: for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Thus, sight giving, as noble as it might be, does not please God as does faith giving. The believer is showing his trust in God by giving what he does not have the power to give in and of himself. Faith sees the invisible, gives the impossible, and trusts God to supply the need.
Faith giving is not in response to a command to give. Tithing was not an option with Israel, it was a command: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” was an order from the Lord. Faith giving, on the other hand, is to be the activity of a heart of love toward the Lord. Paul told the Corinthians “But just as you excel in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (Second Corinthians 8:7-9 NIV)
Just as Christ willingly, lovingly gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us by His death on our behalf, we are to give willingly, lovingly that which we have as a test of our love. It is not to be given as a demonstration of our love toward those who are the recipients of our giving, but our love for the Lord. All giving that is true faith giving must be given to the Lord, and not to man. Our love and our giving must be first vertical, toward God, and at His direction, toward man.
This is the reason that we mention Faith Promises in our Share-a-thons at BBN. The promise of faith is between the believer and God, not between the listener and BBN. The transaction is a vertical one between a Christian and His God, and the reward comes from Heaven to the giver. Jesus promised, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)