Under this new dispensation of grace, we have been blessed with a better covenant, for if the first covenant was good there wouldn’t have been need for the second.
‘But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.’(Hebrew 8:6-7)
Not only have we been given a new covenant we have also been given a better covenant establish on better promises. Hebrews 11 talked about the exploits of faith recorded by our fathers in the faith. This was the chapter that talks about how through faith these giants of faith ‘subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:’ (Hebrews 11:34-37). Still when the writer of Hebrew was to end his tribute to this faith giants he ended by pointing out that no matter what these men and women of God might have achieved it pales in comparison to what this better covenant has in stock for us. Hallelujah!
‘And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.’ (Hebrews 11:40)
Despite all their spiritual exploits the bible tells us that better things have been provided for us! This is because we operate under a better covenant with better promises! Or how best do we explain this favour we have received, under the old covenant there was need for endless sacrifice of the blood of the lamb to atone for their sins, but under this new covenant a onetime sacrifice of the blood of the lamb was enough to wash away our sins, not to bury them for one year, but to wash them away forever!
In the new covenant we have been dealt a better hand and so we must respond with better hands in our worship of the father – hands that give over and above all that it has! This is why I believe under this new covenant the tenth is not good enough for us, we should think of the twenties, the thirties, ultimately our life’s goal should be to give all to Him!
This is the difference between the old and new covenants. The new covenants offer better promises and better rewards but also requires from us higher level of covenant demands. Please note this!
In the old covenant it was the blood of animals that was offered but in the new covenant it was something higher and better – the blood of the only begotten son of God! This is the reason why some of Jesus kingdom teachings places higher demands on the people. In Matthew 5 he espouses the higher demands of this new covenant. Let’s look at some passages from Matthew 5.
‘For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell’(Matthew 5:20-21)
Go on and read further down to verse 48 and you will see how Jesus compares the demands of the old covenant and the new covenant: ‘you have heard it say unto you do not commit adultery, well that is the old covenant. Now I say unto you in this new covenant, the mere thought of adultery is adultery itself!!!’. Better covenant, but with higher demands! For under this new covenant our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees!
In another place Jesus said do not think that I have come to send peace on the earth, no! He said I have come to set father against their children, mothers against daughters. In other words, there are terms of this new covenant that when you follow them will set you at variance with the world, your family, friends and relatives. They are higher demands but with better results. (Matthew 10:34-40)
God doesn’t take away something without replacing it with something better! In God’s agenda the glory of the latter house will always be greater than the former but so also is the demand of the latter. When he took away the blood of the lambs he replaced it with the blood of his son – something higher and better!
If God is taking away the tithe then he is replacing with something better and higher! This is where the new teachers miss it, God isn’t just telling us to stop paying tithes he is asking us to come up hither to a higher level of covenant living that is not dictated by the rules and regulation of the law but from a heart of affection that has receive a better revelation of the blessings of giving. God is saying stop paying the tithe as a requirement of the law start giving it as an expression of love! But he is saying much more than that to his church – give something better born out of revelation and affection for the lord and not by regulation of the law!
Under the law we give by regulation and restriction but under this dispensation of love and grace we give by revelation, we give by affection, we don’t give by restriction. 10% may be our entry level but it’s not where we stop, we give more – we move to 20%, 30% till we reach 100%! This is the terms of the new covenant with better promises, those who have really given their lives need not be encouraged to give their money!