The “Prosperity Gospel” – God Made No Such Promises
Better jobs. Bills paid. Better Houses. These are not promises from God, and this prosperity message is not just coming from famous preachers in Texas – it also comes from churches everywhere under the disguise of religion and is being sold as performance based rewards from God. Many people misunderstand verses like Malachi 3:10 as God’s promise of prosperity because they focus only on the part that says “and test Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows”. Of course this is usually taught in conjunction with a sermon on a tithe of our money, but what we fail to realize is that not only was this under the old covenant, but that there were different kinds of tithes, one of which was a tithe of FOOD. We somehow overlook the first part of the verse said “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be FOOD in My house”. A “storehouse” is a place for storing food, not money, so this verse is not about giving 10% of your income at church and God hooking us up in return. Though I’m certain that religion would debate me feverishly on this.
Whether you’re tithing, serving like crazy, or living a near sinless life, God never promised us financial gain. That gospel immensely confuses people because when things go south they question “what am I doing wrong” “do I have some unrepentant sin” etc. It causes them to miss God’s grace and falsely assume there’s punishment being doled out. All believers should understand that if a gospel message doesn’t fit ALL Christians then it’s not the gospel.
Can you image the preachers sharing this prosperity message in poverty stricken countries? The audience would all feel like God is mad at them or that they’re not spiritual enough to deserve God’s blessings. The truth is we live in a fallen world with disease, death, evil people, and financial stress. God said there would be much suffering in this world. Yes we should pray for these things, and yes, sometimes God does bless us BUT that is not the gospel, and to teach that God has promised us financial gain is to be deprived of His truth. Our hope is not in our earthly circumstances but rather our eternity with Him and what is to come. That’s a gospel that fits everyone, everywhere.
People often love to quote the Apostle Paul when he said in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me” and they turn that into another flavor of prosperity, but in context Paul was saying earthly circumstances (good or bad) were not his source of joy, but rather Christ alone was. If we just back a couple verses we see Paul say “I have learned to be content in WHATEVER circumstances” – vs 11, “I know how to get along with HUMBLE means”-vs 12, and in verse 12 he describes how he was content even while being “HUNGRY” and “SUFFERING need”. Paul’s gospel message was that we should not let our earthly “circumstances” be the source of our joy, but rather that we let Christ be the only source.
In fact, Paul addresses this prosperity message head on when he writes Timothy and he leaves no room for misunderstanding how he sees it.
[1 Timothy 6:5] and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of FINANCIAL GAIN.
No doubt it is stressful losing a home, being hungry, or suffering in any way. In the flesh it can be difficult to find peace in these temporary circumstances, but be encouraged and cast your eyes on Christ. Learn from Paul and know there is a huge promise for your eternity and find your strength in the real promises of God.
God loves us deeply and we can trust Him.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar grew up in church and observed that countless people would go to church and then just stop. The church always referred to them as ‘fake Christians’ or ‘backsliders’ but Mike discovered the problem was deeper. The problem was the church message. The message was 90% behavior improvement and how bad you are, with a pinch of who you are in Christ, It was like every sermon was being preached to the church of Corinth. It’s in the Baptist church, Catholic, Pentecost, and most every other church. After discovering the true gospel message and how we are made right with God because of what ‘Jesus did’ (not what ‘we do’) Mike set out to free believers from behavior improvement programs and bring them back to Jesus. The Result – Jesus Without Religion was launched.