“Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence [tithing] and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty. But when they robbed God in tithes and in offerings they were made to realize that they were not only robbing Him but themselves, for He limited His blessings to them just in proportion as they limited their offeringsto Him.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 395.
The Bible is very clear that we are saved through faith alone, a gift of God’s grace. Our obedience to God’s commands is a response to God’s grace; it doesn’t earn it (after all, if it were earned, it wouldn’t be grace: see Romans 4:1–4).
Indeed, when we look at God’s bilateral covenant with us, we can see both our blessings and our responsibilities. By our responses to what God offers to us, we establish our relationship with Him and, to a great degree, determine our own destiny. Obedience—the service and allegiance of love—is the true sign of discipleship. Instead of releasing us from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render the obedience that God asks from us.
It has been said that if every Adventist were faithful in returning tithe, our church would have more than enough money to do all that it needs to do for spreading the message. What are you doing, in terms of tithes and offerings, to help the church do what it has been called to do?
Dwell more on the idea of how important our choices and our works are in our relationship with God. How do we keep the questions of works and obedience, including tithe paying and good stewardship, before us but without falling into the trap of legalism?
In class, talk about the question at the end of Tuesday’s study regarding when hard times come even when we have been faithful. How do we understand this if it happens, and how do we keep from being discouraged when it does?
Saturday, January 07
Sunday, January 08
Monday, January 09
Tuesday, January 10
Wednesday, January 11
Thursday, January 12
Friday, January 13