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theophilus

Our debt to Caesar

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Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” He was responding to a question about the legality of paying taxes to Caesar and his answer shows that we must pay our taxes. Some people protest government activities that they consider evil or immoral by withholding the percentage of taxes that goes to support such actions. Jesus’ statement does not give Christians the option of doing this. We must pay all the taxes imposed on us; if Caesar misuses the tax money we provide in ways that are contrary to God’s will, he will answer to God for his actions.

 

Our obligation to Caesar goes beyond just paying taxes.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

 

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

 

Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Romans 13:1-7 ESV

We must not only pay taxes but we must obey all of the laws our government enacts. There is only one exception to this. When Peter and the other apostles were ordered by the Jewish council not to teach in the name of Jesus, they replied, “We must obey God rather than men.” We must disobey any law that would require us to disobey God but we must obey all other laws.

 

Christians have a responsibility that others do not.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

A similar command was given to God’s people in the Old Testament.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Jeremiah 29:7 ESV

Christians should vote for good candidates (if we can find any) but it is more important that we pray for all who are in office, whether they are good or not. God is in complete control of all that happens and he can use even wicked rulers to carry out his will.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD;

he turns it wherever he will.

Proverbs 21:1 ESV

When we hear someone say we must render to Caesar what it Caesar’s we need to remember that one thing that belongs to Caesar is the prayers of God’s people. I haven’t always been faithful in paying this debt to Caesar. Have you?​​​​​​​

 

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I am reminded of the movie 'Fiddler on the Roof'.

Someone asks the Rabbi if he knows a prayer for the Tzar and the Rabbi says 'of course' ...

 

... "May God bless him and keep him, far away from us."

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I have always had a wonderment about how Christianity and the law interact and relate to one another. I cannot really speak to anything specific, but I am sure there are areas in the law that would seem to go against the Bible or the teachings of Jesus, but nothing is really coming to mind (maybe he would want a different corporate tax structure). Or more often there is probably just not laws where perhaps there should be. It is really interesting to think about, though, so thank you for sharing.

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Some people protest government activities that they consider evil or immoral by withholding the percentage of taxes that goes to support such actions.

 

Who are these people?

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Who are these people?

 

I have heard or read about people who do this. I don't recall any of their names.

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I have heard or read about people who do this. I don't recall any of their names.

 

In Washington State, a nearby town from where I used to live, were followers of Ramtha (New Age Cult). Ramtha teaches people to step away from society. A lot of homes in that area are for sale for next to nothing. The houses were built following no code, were not inspected, etc by Ramtha followers. When the homes are sold a great deal of money has to be spent disassembling the house for inspection to get them aligned with code. I believe they are just one example of a group of people that do not respect the laws of the land including paying taxes because they disagree with the U.S. Government:

 

A further controversial issue regarding Ramtha's teachings involve the so-called "endtimes", which were prophesized catastrophes. Instructions from Ramtha were given to the students, telling them to leave their friends behind if they resisted or disagreed with them. He taught that "your government is an illusion", which encouraged some students to engage in tax evasion, and he also directed students to build and prepare individual underground shelters to protect themselves against an imminent invasion of Chinese Communist soldiers from Mexico, planning to invade Seattle and the surrounding areas.[10] Other prophesies include a holocaust would take place in 1988, the USA's involvement in a major war in 1985, a discovery in Turkey would reveal a big hidden pyramid which would reach to the center of the Earth, or that cities would be obliterated by diseases.[16]

 

God bless,

William

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