Before and After 

Before 2013, the whole weight of my faith was on following religious activities and that included sharing at least 10 percent of my paycheck to the church funds as one form of sacrifice, giving out my time for every church activity as a sacrifice, preaching every second Sunday and whenever the pastor needed cover, leading Bible studies, leading and teaching Sunday school classes. The whole weight of my faith rested then on my efforts. The more I did, the more I was accepted and praised. The more I did, the more I felt that I was at peace with God. The only Jesus that I knew then was the Jesus of miracles, hoping that God would work miracles for me as the several preaching colleagues would promise time after time. Miracles like giving me more money to ease my financial burdens, or to upgrade my lifestyle. That’s how blessing was always defined, even from guest speakers.
At the end of 2012, my family started going through challenges with paying off our debts. As we were being pressed to give beyond our means, our debts just kept on adding.
We gave at least ten percent biweekly. We gave every time we’re asked. It was our way to not feel guilty whenever the scolding moment came against those who didn’t give.
And as we started to struggle with giving, our pastor crowded us then with the other crowd. The entire church started struggling with giving. And the pastor concluded then that if no one is tithing then no one is actually saved. That was it for me.
“How can the pastor be true?”, I started asking myself, “Does that mean my salvation is based on the ten or more percent I was bringing to the church’s fund?”
One day, I turned on the radio and was listening to a new Christian station in town. And the program that was being aired was by a ministry formerly called People to People Ministry. Basic Gospel is the name today. People were calling with all sorts of questions regarding the Bible, struggles with their Christian lives and so on. Mostly questions that no typical pastor would want to hear or even investigate.
Then one caller called about his pastor preaching on tithing, giving ten percent of income, Sunday after Sunday. The host of the program, Bob Christopher, made it clear to him how such giving was guided by the old covenant and how today we’re under the new covenant because of what Christ had done with the cross. The new covenant, he explained with scriptures, guides our giving from the heart out of joy, and not from a number or pressure for giving.
That was the beginning of my “saved by grace through faith journey”, moving the weight of my faith from my efforts to what God has finished through Christ with the cross, his burial and his resurrection. As Basic Gospel shares the good news today: “Hear it. Believe it. Live it.”  It is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.
You can only know Jesus through the gospel. There is no other way. You can only know God through Jesus. There is just no other way. Thank you Jesus for opening the eyes of my heart by grace through the good news so that I may rest assured in your work today and every day that follows. Thank you, Amen.

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