The Legal Position of Christians Today
There is a special position that the ekklesia (the Body of Christ collectively) has with the Father at the present time. The apostle Paul revealed through the divine Spirit of God the role that each member of the ekklesia now plays as far as the Father and Christ are concerned. It is a very high position indeed. This new role (explained to the apostle Paul and others about the year 63 C.E. in what he called "the revelation of the Mystery") puts all of us in an exalted authority right next to the Father himself and seated with Christ on Christ’s own throne (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1). It is this wonderful and magnificent teaching that makes all the members of the ekklesia today no longer bound to ANY laws of tithing, rituals, holy days, sabbaths, or any other ritualistic law that God ever made for humans to observe. Once a person understands the Christian’s legal position since "the revelation of the Mystery" was given to mankind in 63 C.E., there is no longer any reason to consider the tithing laws as binding that God gave Israel.
It is made clear by the plain teaching of the apostle Paul that the biblical laws of tithing, new moons, sabbaths, holy days and all physical rituals no matter if they are mentioned as being the holiest ceremonies for humans are no longer necessary in a legal sense for Christians to observe.
That is because we are now "in Christ" and we have already kept all these requirements in a perfect way by our being "in Christ" from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3–14). We will find that being "in Christ" on a continual basis from before the world’s foundation (2 Timothy 1:9) means that Christ has been a substitute for us in fulfilling all the requirements that God the Father has placed on all mankind to perform. Let me explain.
Let us start with that event that took place before the foundation of the world. The apostle Paul came to see that Christians are now reckoned by the Father to have been "in Christ" even before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-14). But our position "in Christ" did not stop there at that remote period in the past. We (in a legal sense) continued to remain "in Christ" until the very moment Christ entered this world with his birth from Mary. But our being "in Christ" did not stop with Christ’s birth. We were also "in Christ" (in the eyes of the Father) when Christ was circumcised (Colossians 2:11). Paul shows through his teaching in the revelation of "the Mystery" that Christians are now accounted as having been circumcised at the same time Christ was circumcised. Christ was performing his role as a substitute for us in the eyes of the Father. Thus, when Christ was circumcised as a boy of eight days old, all Christians (male or female makes no difference for a spiritual principle is being discussed by Paul) were also circumcised at the same time. And even though you and I were not even born at the time, that makes no difference because Christ was doing something for us and for the whole world throughout all the ages of mankind.
But our being "in Christ" did not stop with Christ’s circumcision. The apostle Paul goes on to teach that when Christ was baptized, all Christians were also reckoned as baptized "with him" (Colossians 2:11). Then later, when Christ was crucified, all Christians were also crucified with Christ at the same time because we were "in Christ" at that time too (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:3). But our being "in Christ" does not stop with the crucifixion. Christians are also accounted as having been resurrected with Christ when Christ was resurrected from the dead—"you are risen with him" (Colossians 2:12–13; 3:1). And when Christ passed the judgment seat that all must go through after death (2 Corinthians 5:10), Christ went through the judgment triumphantly and sat down on the right hand of the Father on his glorious throne (Colossians 3:1). And even now, all Christians are "in Christ" (in the eyes of the Father) as Christ now sits in our place at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Colossians 3:1).
This all means that Christians now have a majestic position in the heavens through their role of being "in Christ." In rank, Christians are now above all sovereignty in this world. Christians are reigning on that same heavenly throne as Christ (in a legal sense) because Christians are "in Christ." Note how the apostle Paul put it. "And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6 Greek). And though the world does not recognize Christians (those who understood "the Mystery" that Paul taught) as being in that august position of authority in Christ, still the Father and Christ and the angels all realize it as a glorious fact (Ephesians 3:9–11).
Being "in Christ" from the foundation of the world means that Christ has lived a substitutionary life for all Christians from that remote period in the past. It also means that what Christ accomplished in good works and in doing rituals while he was on earth has now been awarded to Christians as belonging to them because we were also "in Christ" during those times. This means that the Father now looks on Christians as already having kept all his commandments perfectly (when Christ did), that all Christians have died with Christ (when Christ died), that all Christians are reckoned to have been resurrected with Christ (when Christ was resurrected almost 2000 years ago), and that all Christians have passed the judgment (as Christ did) and that all Christians now sit on the very throne of Christ which is located at the right hand of the Father in heaven (because that is where Christ is and all Christians are accounted to be "in Christ"). This is the present legal position of all Christians as revealed to Paul and others when "the Mystery" was finally disclosed to them about 63 C.E.
In summary, all Christians (in a legal sense in the eyes of the Father) have already made it into the very Kingdom and Salvation of God by being attached to Christ. Christians have died to this world, and they are recognized by the Father as already having kept all of the commandments, all of the rituals (including ALL TITHING, sabbaths, holy days, new moons, etc.). Indeed, all the requirements of God were kept by Christ when he was on earth, and we kept them perfectly at the time he did (because Christians were then "in Christ").
The fact that Christ was our substitute sacrifice and our stand-in to undergo the judgment for us is the very basis of what the teaching of Christianity is all about. The simple truth is: Christ did all the works for all mankind that the Father has required of mankind to perform in order to reach salvation and all those works have been awarded to us (by grace, not our own works) by virtue of the Father having put us all "in Christ" from before the foundation of the world.
This means that we are already reckoned by the Father to be a part of the divine Family of God since we are still "in Christ" and Christ is reigning as the Firstborn of the Family (under the Father) in heaven (1 John 3:1–2). And when Christ returns, those of us who are Christians and understand these glorious truths, we will be resurrected from the dead and literally take on that majestic role in the heavens that Christ is now performing on the right hand of the Father in his heavenly environment.
This is why Paul in Colossians told Christians not to be concerned about any ritualistic observances of Moses or those of any other religious teacher (and this includes the laws of tithing, sabbaths or holy days), because all Christians are "in Christ" and they have passed through all those early stages of religious development and requirements when Christ was a substitute for them. He did them all for them as their stand in, their substitute.
Christians have successfully accomplished (by being legally "in Christ") all the duties that God ever gave in a ritualistic sense for people to observe on earth. Christians now (even though we are in the flesh until we are resurrected from the dead) are reckoned by the Father to be his very own Family (Colossians 3:1–2). We are no longer accounted as physical Israelites, physical Jews or even physical Gentiles (Colossians 3:10–11). Christians are now reckoned as a part of the divine Family of God (1 John 3:1–2) and we are already "in Christ" reigning in the heavens in the eyes of the Father. Sabbaths, holy days, rituals are not necessary for members of that divine Family to which we belong—and that includes no more tithing to Levites and no more tithing to Christian ministers (John 5:17–18).
Click here to order the print version of: The Tithing Dilemma
© 1976-2017 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge - ASK is supported by freewill contributions