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April 29 – If I Do Not Submit To Authorities, Who Will?

April 29, 2012

“For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” – Romans 13:6

Christians do not evade paying their legitimate taxes nor any other debt they owe. 

The Pharisees and Herodians (neither of whom had any hesitation to defraud the Roman government of the taxes they were legally obligated to pay) tried to cast Jesus in a bad light by asking Him whether it was right to pay taxes to Caesar.  He responded by asking one of them for a denarius, which He took and inspected, then asked whose picture was on the coin.  They replied, “Caesar’s.”  Jesus then said, “If it’s his, give it to him.”  He was saying, “Don’t make use of the structure and institutions of the government and then refuse to support them.”  A person who calls on the police to protect him and the courts to give him justice, should not then turn around and try to avoid his responsibility to support and uphold the system from which he claims benefits.

Christians pay respect and honor to those to whom they are due.  Romans 13:7– “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

I must pay honor to those in authority, period!  When Paul addressed the governor of Judea with accustomed respect (Acts 24:10), he did not in any way endorse the cruel and immoral ways of Felix.  But he gave honor to whom honor was due.  I am to pray for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:2) and Peter tells me in 1 Peter 2:17, “…Honour the king.”

One piece of advice Paul perhaps would give the Christian in a western democracy today (that he could not give a second century Roman: use the power of free speech and the power of your vote to promote Christian values in your government and society.  The United States Constitution is based upon freedom- freedom of speech, of association, and of religion.  But forces of darkness are always working to erode those values and rights.  I must be eternally vigilant and heed the advice of Paul to not sleep as other do, but to be alert and sober.

In conclusion,  I owe it to my leaders to pray for them regularly and fervently.  Look at 1 Timothy 2:1-2,

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (NIV)

Since the authorities that exist have been established by God, and He has the power to overturn thrones (Haggai 3:22), I must not discount the power of prayer in world affairs.  God will bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night.

“And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” – Luke 18:7

If I do not submit to governing authorities, then who will?  If I do not do it, and others do not do it, we will inevitably incite chaos.  For the sake of the Gospel, I will represent my Lord in all circumstances.

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