By: Martin Cisneros
I grew up listening to Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Savelle, John Avanzini, Mike Murdock, Bob Tilton, and most of the other "big named" prosperity preachers. Prosperity theology is not a "get rich quick scheme." It is not a product of con artists or bad interpretations of Scripture. The bad theology comes in when someone tries to make an area of distinction between Jews and Gentiles that the Bible doesn't make (although it does make a few distinctions), or when someone tries to imply that it has any baring on one's righteousness with God through Christ, as if a belief in prosperity Scriptures and their application necessarily implied an abandonment of sanctification, or an abandonment of the grace and faith that takes away the sin of the world on an ongoing, practical, experiential basis.
As a side note on tithing, in passing, though this isn't meant as a full handling of the subject of tithing by any stretch, I'll still nonetheless devote about 4 paragraphs to it here:
Someone asked me one time if I was trying to live off of the tithe rather than living my life as a tent maker, like St. Paul. Because of discussion board [server] upheavals and personal issues that kept me from getting back to them on that as quickly as I would have wanted, I wasn't able to answer them on that particular discussion board thread. There's nothing inherently virtuous about "being a tent maker." Paul did that in times of great need so that absolutely no one could stop his ministry. But then he got into it slipping into the hypocrisy of the Judaizers that stood by the error of 3John 7. Paul later repented of that to the Corinthian Church that he'd taken offerings from other churches but had accepted nothing from them. He'd apparently done the same thing to the Thessalonian Church, which if his comment to the Corinthians is any indication, then he went back and taught them as well "He who sows sparingly and grudgingly shall also reap sparingly and grudgingly..." One can try to argue as to what Paul did with the offering that he received in 2Corinthians, as to whether it went towards St. Paul Evangelistic Association and it's outreaches or whether it went 100% to those who were really hurting in Jerusalem. But the Lord taught him that he was making a distinction between Jews and Gentiles and that that was wrong - a tremendous SIN to try to come up with the idea of "two dispensations"; first the Jews, then the Gentiles. The anti-tithe dogma starts with the assumption that there's a difference/distinction in the Gospel and in the eyes of God between Jews and Gentiles. That's the foundation of that.
Some would try to get cute about beans, rice, watermelons, and cantalopes, as if that's all that constituted the tithe, when the Mosaic law made provisions for converting it into cash in order to be able to take it on a long journey. I realize we're not under the law, but I'm talking about the error that tithe always meant just grains and legumes. In Philippians 4 Paul spoke of being eager for fruit to abound to the account of the Philippians. Yet we're under no obligation to assume that they brought him peaches, mangosteen, and tomatoes, or that he was sincerely exercising his thankful faith in their behalf before the throne of grace for an abundance of bananas and cucumbers to come back upon their lives! The book of Hebrews says that Christ receives tithes as a witness that He liveth forever.
Am I trying to live off of the tithe, or by practicing an interpretation of what I believe to be Biblical, New Covenant tithing? I'm living by faith, expectation, love, diligence, and according to conscience, as the New Testament teaches to from cover to cover. The Bible says that whatever doesn't proceed from faith is sin. The grace of God teaches me to deny ungodliness. Tithe was always about worship and not just about bucket plunking. So few really know anything about bringing the tithe to the high priest of the Lord that is in these days and rejoicing in the abundant land that the Lord has brought them into of having delivered them from the authority of darkness and having translated them into the Kingdom of God's dear Son - a land that flows with milk and honey. Paul said that these things that were previously written were written for our instruction - those of us upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Another thing to consider, in addition to the fact that being against tithing in the Christian Church is trying to set up a difference between Jews and Gentiles that the New Testament doesn't distinguish is whether or not Jesus ever tithed, whether or not He ever changes, and whether or not He would tithe as a matter of conscience, love, hope, and principle even if there were no express law requiring it of Him. The Bible says in Romans chapter 8 that those of us who've embraced His Lordship are predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians chapter 2 mentions graces that would continue to be revealed beyond the first Apostolic age and it mentions covenants of promise in the plural, indicating that the salvation of the world isn't the only Biblically valid New Testament covenant.
The goal envisioned by 2Corinthians chapters 8 and 9, Galatians 6, Ephesians 4, the book of Philippians, and other passages is that believers would be thoroughly equiped for every good work, including in the material realm. Biblical prosperity is towards the goal of Jesus' yoke being easy and His burden being light so that we'll be able to lend to every nation and family and to never borrow. It's for drawing attention to the Lord at work in our lives, to fund the spreading of His Gospel into every nation, and for keeping one's self unpolluted by the world.
There are two ways of attaining Biblical financial wealth, or two main categories under which multiple layers may exist that are unique. But essentially, there's the simple promise of 2Corinthians 8:9 that with the resurrection of Christ we're to account ourselves dead to lack, poverty, and deficits and to account ourselves alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord thoroughly equiped for every generous work. This is carefully cultivated by growth in the hope of the promises associated with it and by maintaining a thankful heart and a Spirit-filled life for the abundance of all things.
Additionally, there's the long term plan of sowing and reaping where our obedient faith and eagerly expanding aggressiveness regarding the Lord's Work, and living self sacrificial lives to the Lord's Work will eventually bring in an avalanche of wealth in proportion to the wisdom that one has grown in through Christ along the way while letting patience, love, and joy to have their perfect work in one's life. Or for some, it'll come in incrementally all along the way.
The objective is to make every believe a New Testament Abraham towards the purpose of blessing all of the families of the earth with the light of Christ, the knowledge of His salvation, and His commandment to all to repent and embrace His Lordship and His Kingdom objectives.
It's often spoken of as evil by some believers in Christ because they've not yet inherited the full Kingdom vision for the higher levels of obedience, sanctification, and praiseworthiness that this would progressively elevate their lives towards through the power of the Holy Spirit at work within them. But many will grow in this area of overcoming, the critics notwithstanding.
For a little over a decade I haven't been a fan of teachings on sowing and reaping as a means of obtaining immediate financial breakthroughs. Now, I did then [and I do now] continue to believe that there are genuine principles of sowing and reaping that will unquestionably bring about enormous wealth and other breakthroughs in this life. I just don't believe in sudden prosperity and provisions through giving generously and militantly.
Genuine wealth through the finished work of Christ is seldom taught about. Even when it's briefly mentioned, it usually isn't focused on as thoroughly as it should be focused on. But 2Corinthians 8:9 indicates that Jesus bore our poverty on the cross so that we would be made rich. (And that verse was written in the context of an offering being received, so nothing esoteric or otherworldly was stated or implied by that verse. It's talking assets, favor, money, and resources that pertain to this life.) Sowing and reaping teaching very very often wanders into a form of "Indulgences" teaching that the Protestant Reformation started gaining momentum in 1517 in order to contradict, rebuke, and refute that Scripturally.
We must give in order to support this great work and every other great work of ministry. But your needs are supposed to be filled through the finished work of Christ. Jesus bore your poverty on the cross and through the baptism of the Holy Spirit that you've received, you ought to be thoroughly equiped for every good Word and Work that the Lord has knit you to, to help give birth and/or sustenance to.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simply trust in that, all of your sins are taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, all of your strife is taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, all of your griefs are taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, all of your fears are taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, all of your sicknesses and diseases are taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, all of your lack is taken away.
Based on the finished work of Christ, and your simple trust in that, your mind is renewed and all of your destiny is fulfilled.
You must get back to belief in the finished work of Christ as the basis for the meeting of every need you've ever had. It's the Blood transfusion through which your ever need is met!
Through the Blood of Christ, every page of debt that's stood against you, whether in the heavens or in the earth, is completely blotted out and taken away.
Learn to live in the fulfilled side of life; in the fulfilled side of the cross. When you fast and pray, you're not an Old Testament believer pleading the grace of God on the promisory note [of the Old Testament] that the Messiah will "one day" be good for it. You're standing in the Courts of heaven with the Teacher of Righteousness simply drawing on provisions that have already been made:
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your sins.
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your strife.
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your griefs.
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your fears.
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your sicknesses and diseases.
As you walk in the light, as He's in the light, His Blood takes away all of your poverty and lack!
Through the Bread and Cup of Christ, we not only have a Remembrance of the Blood that has taken away the sin of the world, but we have a Remembrance of the details of the New Covenant that was cut in the flesh of Christ and all of the details that His Blood has ratified in the behalf of every need that there has ever been or that ever could have been in your life.
Learn to plead the Blood of Christ, not just for your protection and the remission of your fears and sins, but over every need and every desire. Whatever is not in line with His will, the Blood will obviously obliterate from your consciousness as it takes you further into captivity to the obedience of Christ. And whatever is His perfect will for your life will start to materialize out of the very DNA of heaven as the perfect will of God continues to abound to you from the finished work of Christ - in line with the documents that are kept in heaven that the Blood of Christ was sprinkled over, thereby fulfilling your destiny.
By the poverty of Christ, you were forever reconstituted richer than the vainest imaginations of avarice could ever fathom! Praise the Father for the Blood of Christ that is still flowing from a Heart of Love into your every need, tearing down the strongholds of the enemy, and satisfying and fulfilling all righteousness in your life.
Refuse to bare the debt of your sins, of your body, and of your finances because of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ that is the Ransom for your life!
Take the Bread and Cup and get on your knees and stay there until Christ alone is left to arise in your body and manifest the intents of His righteousness through your spirit, mind, body, and finances.
Yes, all that you've given thus far will come to harvest in your life if you've faithfully named your seed every step of the way. But don't wait on that. Give all that's on your heart to give to this ministry, to every other ministry, and meet every need that there is - first in the Body of Christ and then in the world. But rejoice in the Blood that has remitted all of the lack in your life that's tried to stand as a witness against the reality of the Kingdom of God being in your life.
Work hard, give harder, and keep the commandment of love most of all. Again, yes, all that you've given thus far will come to harvest in your life, because it's the work of your Redeemed hands in the spirit. But that's [completely] different from 2Corinthians 8:9 and all of the wealth that Christ came to bring into your life in order to please our Heavenly Father. Your prosperity is as settled as the remission of your griefs, fears, and of your sins. So fast to renew your mind and fast to spend extra time in thanksgiving, praise, and worship. And fast to get to know the Holy Spirit, within you, better. But never again try to fast to accomplish all that the cross of Christ has already accomplished in your life, in your marriage, and in your ministry. Yes, fasting and praying, but particularly fasting and thanksgiving and worship will help you to reap a faster harvest, but don't limit your prosperity to your multiplied fruits of New Covenant righteousness. Take the next step and put pressure on the Covenant for all that is yours in Christ, just simply because it's yours and that's all that there is to it! Rejoice in the cross of Christ, according to 2Corinthians 8:9 as if it were a busted ATM that's throwing money at you - along with every other provision and principle of your temporal, eonian, and eternal redemption!
Rejoice over the Bread and Cup, expecting until your every enemy is made your footstool.
God's plan is for you to know Him, for you to learn from Jesus Christ, for you to obey Him, and for you to reflect His character in your character.
It is the will of God for you to have everything that you could ever possibly need in order to fulfill His will for your life.
It is the will of God for you to have everything that you could ever possibly need in order to have your basic needs of wisdom, food, clothing, books, shelter, and safety met.
It is the will of God for you to have everything that you could ever possibly need in order to have the needs of your relationship with God, and with your fellow man, met.
Health and strength to carry out the perfect will of God for your life and to be able to enjoy your relationships with God and with your fellow man are basic needs that God has set Jesus apart in order to fulfill those things in your life that you're yet lacking. Jesus will progressively bring fulfillment where there's only been needs up until now as He's progressively able to bring you to a place of being apart from all of the cries and dictates of this world around you. When His world is more real and demanding upon you, your time, and your resources than your own little dimensional stronghold in this universe, then His strength will become yours and nothing will be impossible to you - except disobedience to God.
The heart's cry to know God, His Son Jesus Christ, and to understand Wisdom will not be left unanswered. Each cry that comes up before the throne will be met by Mercy Himself, from Whom no being can be withheld or hidden forever. Cries of hatred will be answered with shame and punishment, while cries to become love will be answered with glory, inheritance, and immortality.
2Corinthians chapter 5 says that all died spiritually when Jesus Christ died, in order that they would be made the righteousness of God in Christ. The teachings of Jesus and of St. Paul both reveal that there are many stages of spiritual growth and many layers to the order in which God is doing things. And as all seeds don't come to fulfillment at once in regular crops of corn, grapes, olives, and wheat, neither will every person realize God's deepest intended state for them at once.
Paradise being restored for all of mankind is essentially the restoration of the nature of Jesus Christ within each of us. Though He's already promised to bring us a new world, as His own free gift, the nature of Jesus Christ sown and harvested from each of us would enable all of us together with Him to begin to multiply bread and wine at the same rate that He was able to provide for the wedding feast that He attended in Canaan or at any of the other times when He produced an alarming abundance as it became necessary to feed large crowds of people. With the character of Jesus Christ fully formed in each of us, our flesh fully crucified with Christ, and our hearts fully upon the Father of Mercies, the new world that'll come as a matter of His pure generocity and wisdom would at the same time be within the reach of our creating together with Him, had He not already reserved that right unto Himself for the coming world.
Genuine prosperity is the ability to walk with God, to have perfect humility before God, and to be able to obey God and inherit any promise and judgment from Him that He's spoken in the light of our inaugurated and continued obedience and relationship with Him. Genuine prosperity may reflect trillions of dollars of assets in the earth, or it may remain hidden all of the days of your life in your heart as you work in a carpenter's shop. Genuine prosperity is only defined by one's relationship with God. It's one thing to trust God, but what a rarity to be someone that God trusts!
That is the only genuine struggle in life [worth participating in]: to have a genuine, intimate, and growing two-way relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The privilege of obeying Jesus Christ is the only successful quest for immortality worth pursuing. To humble one's self before the One Who was mutilated in order to identify with the mutilation that your heart has known in this world, and so that He could lead the way towards both of you - Him and yourself - being restored to wholeness in the Father at the same time is honestly all that matters. Once you're restored with the power of God, then you'll be able to come back to Hell for those that you've left behind there and get them out with the same compassion and lessons that He taught you in bringing you out of your Hell.
This is part of what is available to you further inside the walls of the New Jerusalem that you're called to walk in, in this life. Do you want it for yourself?