Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)
TITLE: All Prosperity Is NOT from God
By Doug Laird
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Overt blessings such as health, wealth, possessions, education, political power and social status are not always from God.
Overt prosperity that is not from God is not only worthless beyond this lifetime (Eccl. 1: 2), but it provides Satan with the means to deceive many who possess it and many more who desire it (Luke 8: 14).
“You say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But, you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Rev. 3:17NIV).”
The Bible (Luke 4: 6) teaches that Satan, the “god [small “g”] of this world (2Cor. 4: 4 NASB)”, has both the willingness and the ability to bless anyone who is willing to follow him or his ways. The Lord Jesus Christ did not dispute this contention of Satan and even a casual look at the world in which we live confirms the validity of this claim.
Satan is more than willing to bless any individual or ministry that knowingly or unwittingly promotes “religion” as opposed to true spirituality. A bullet fired in ignorance and one fired with malicious intent can both have the same lethal effect.
It is no coincidence that the sectors of the Christian Community that have the “most” in terms of worldly wealth and influence, are among the same ones that have the “least” in terms of doctrinal accuracy and practices.
Tithing was a form of mandatory taxation. The purpose of tithing was to provide the means for the temple worship and the logistical support of the sacrificing priests.
Since the last sacrifice (the Lord Jesus Christ) has already been made on the last altar (His cross), there is no Biblical place for sacrificing priests, altars, physical sacrifices, or the need to “tithe” as its intended purposes has already been fulfilled. The purpose of celebrating the Lord’s Supper is to bring into frequent remembrance (1Cor. 11: 24, 25) that which has already been accomplished, not to reproduce it!
Financial support of the local assemblies and for those who minister there is taught in the New Testament and is therefore applicable to the Church Age. This support, however is NOT to be on the basis of compulsion (tithing). “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor. 9: 7NIV).”
Attempting to impose tithing on members of the Church Age is an evil manipulation of believers who are ignorant of the principle of dispensational relevance necessary in order to interpret and apply various passages of the Word of God. Tithing, during the Church Age, is no more valid than the Old Testament animal sacrifices.
God DOES bless individuals in accordance with what they give to Him and to others, but only when the giving is done with the correct motivation, not by compulsion or as an investment in which one expects to receive a good return.
From God’s perspective, it is “…he who cherishes understanding prospers (Prov.19: 8 NIV).
Understanding comes from the ability to discern and apply the knowledge that one has learned. Knowledge, in the spiritual realm, is what the Bible calls “…the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NIV).” This knowledge is obtained exclusively through the daily intake of the Word of God (Prov.30: 6).
Overt blessings of health and wealth may very well be from God, but to assume that all who have these blessing have received them from God or that there is something spiritually amiss with all those who lack such overt prosperity is a common misnomer.
Many of God’s greatest servants have gone without much overt blessings and prosperity (Hebrews 11: 13), but they have “learned to be content (Phil. 4: 11 NIV)”, regardless of what God gave or took away.
Much of the overt prosperity that various sectors of the Christian Community and its leaders have accumulated has been secured by fraud, persecution, torture, and /or the promotion of non-Biblical religious teachings and practices.
In the end, it will not be the accumulation of earthly prosperity that matters, but the riches that are awaiting the true Church we are called Home to give an account and the labor is appraised.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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