The View From 1776
Monday, April 05, 2010
A Debt We Can Never Repay
We owe everything we have to God for our redemption.
In sermons last Sunday and today, Easter Sunday, Pastor Dan Gardner (Cohocton, New York, Assembly of God Church) preached on God’s benevolent grace to us and upon what we owe God. Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, brings all of it into focus.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
And, in the words of the Apostle Paul:
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Corinthians 15:1-7)
Jesus died for us, a blood sacrifice, upon the cross. We owe everything to God, everything we have. God owns everything, because all of it is His creation. We are merely His stewards of what we have received.
From that vantage point, tithing is the least we can do as thanks for His grace.
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (1 Corinthians 16:2)
We must give freely and with a glad heart. It must be from the heart, not as a matter of ritualistic duty or for public show:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:12)
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” (Luke 16:2)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God