40 Question 1

It is very frustrating to see that the taxes we pay are being used to fund foolish projects, or even worse to fund things that we, as Christians, find objectionable.  As being the servants of Christ, how should we react?  Should we refuse to pay our taxes?   We read in Romans 13:1-2, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”  According to the Word of God, the Lord wants us to obey the law; to obey those that are in the position to govern us.  The Apostle Paul wrote to Titus in Titus 3:1-2 to, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”  Titus was given the task of reminding the believers that they should put themselves under the authority of their political leaders.  We have a tendency to rebel against our leaders.  However, the Lord would rather have us occupied with doing good works; to guard what we say about others; to be gentle and meek to all men.  Does that remind you of anyone?  It sure does!  When we do this, we are imitating our blessed savior.  What a wonderful example to follow.

We know the Lord Jesus, Himself, was obedient to the Roman government and paid his taxes while He was living on the earth.  In Matthew 22:15-22, we read of an incident where the Pharisees tried to trick the Lord by asking him about paying taxes to the hated Roman government.  It says, “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.”

The Lord was also tempted and was asked about giving tribute money.  This was basically a tax that was received of the Jews for the upkeep of the temple.  We read in Matthew 17:24-27, “And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.”

We are instructed to obey those in authority, and since paying taxes is required by those in authority, we should obey.  However, we need to be sure that we pray for those that are in authority.  1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.”  We need to make a habit out of praying for our leaders.  Proverbs 21:1 teaches us that, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”  Since our leaders’ hearts are in the Lord’s hands, may we be so careful to pray that the Lord will lead them to rule honestly and fairly.  Even if our leaders are not believers, the Lord can still use them to fulfill His purposes.

Is it ever okay to disobey our political leaders?  If there comes a time that to obey our leaders would cause us to disobey the Lord, then we should not obey them.  We read of an incident in the book of Acts where the apostles were forbidden by the religious leaders to preach the name of Christ.  In Acts 5:29 we find their reaction; “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  Otherwise, no matter how much we disagree, we should be obedient to the Lord by being obedient to those in authority over us.  (40.1)