Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Be Careful What You Render Unto Caesar

“'Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.’ So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” — Matthew 22:17-21

We live in a time in the course of human events when there has never been more tension between what belongs to God and what belongs to Caesar (or the culture).  The laws of the land are rooted in the moral code – the consensus of the people in that culture. The laws change over time as the values and beliefs of the generations change. The laws are relative – not fixed. In some measure the laws of man are flawed – primarily because they products of the human heart. There is something called a Venn Diagram, which in its simplest form are two overlapping circles.  Where the circles overlap indicates commonality between the two circles.

In the same way, the laws of God and of Man are like two overlapping circles.  Where the circles of God and Man overlap – there is agreement. Where they do not – there is not agreement. God is a God of order, and He established governments for the welfare of the people.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” – Romans 13:1-2

So Jesus was telling those who had asked, that the authority that belongs to the government should be honored and the authority that belongs to God should be also honored. So what happens when there is a conflict. There is an issue that does not fall in the “overlap” of the circles. What to do then? The answer – you must default to the authority of the Creator God. In the military there is something called an “unlawful order”. That is an order – or law – that is contrary to a superior law. For example – an officer may give an order for someone to do something that is contrary to Military, national or international law. That order cannot be obeyed because it would cause you to violate a higher order. (Hope I am not being obtuse with this example.)

God does not change – His Word does not change – but the laws of man – the societies definition of what is right and what is wrong does change.  Do you remember the quote of then President Clinton, “It depends upon what the definition of ‘is’ is.” Man redefines what is right and wrong – even what certain words mean – according to the “prevailing winds” of the time and culture.

As Christians we have an unchanging moral compass, set in our hearts, that points us heavenward. When faced with an apparent dilemma of choosing between what God has said and what our culture says is true – we must render unto God what is God’s. Jesus was saying that if you are asking about paying taxes with money minted by the government – pay the tax – but if you are talking about something that falls within God’s domain and runs against the law of man – you must render your obedience to God.

Not obeying man’s laws in deference to God’s laws is called civil-disobedience.  It is the response that we witnessed in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King. Don’t expect the culture to applaud you for taking a stand for God. Somebody has to be right and somebody has to be wrong. From the culture’s perspective you will be wrong. And by its definition of right and wrong – you will be. To agree that you are right would mean that they are wrong – see the dilemma?  When there is conflict between the laws of man and God, the only way that the culture will agree with God’s law is by the Spirit of God convicting them of their sin.

This struggle will continue until Jesus returns for His Bride.  To that I say, Jesus come quickly! I shared these thought with you because I want you to be alert and aware of the spiritual conflict that is raging in our country and around the world. I want you to be aware that we are called to take a stand – to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s that is not contrary to that which is God’s.  It will require spiritual strength to do that – to not buckle under the pressure to conform – to go along so you can get along. That is not the purpose of salt and light.

Think about it – Pray about it - Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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