Rendering Unto Caesar The Things That Are Caesars

In Matthew 22:15-22 a group of Pharisees and Herodians were attempting to trip Jesus up by asking Him a loaded question. The question was, “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” They thought they had Jesus boxed into a corner that He couldn’t get out of. If He said “yes”, the Pharisees would call Him a disloyal Jew. If he said “no”, the Herodians would report Him to the Roman government as one who was guilty of sedition. After looking at the coin used to pay tribute with Emperor Tiberius’ picture on it, Jesus offered a profound but simple command: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” His enemies were reproved by His words and His disciples were taught that Christianity is no enemy of civil government. So, even though the IRS has been proven recently under this administration to be the enemy of the Christian, we are still obligated to pay our taxes, even if they seem unfair. The other side of that coin is that one should give back to God what belongs to God—and what do we have that has not been given to us by Him? The tithe is usually the first thing that comes to a person’s mind here. Refusing to pay your tithe is denying that Jesus is Lord of your life just by that one action alone. The tithe certainly belongs to God and for you to spend it on a hamburger, or a new dress, or an automobile, or whatever, is to “rob God” of what is His, as Malachi 3:8 clearly says. But rendering to God what is due is more than just paying one’s tithe! Erasmus wrote: “Give back to God that which has the image and superscription of God—the soul.” Whose image is stamped on your heart? Now when it comes down to Caesar’s demands interfering with God’s demands, we must “obey God rather than man”, as Acts 5:29 commands us to do. When told by the government to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, the church didn’t just rollover and stop—they obeyed the command of God instead of the command of man, considering it to be the highest command and where their loyalty had to be. How does this apply to us today? We must render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, even though we may not like it or agree with it. But under no circumstances should we be willing to render to Caesar what is God’s! What do I mean by that? For instance, marriage is God’s. It was God who invented and instituted it, as well as He who set the boundaries for it. God said it was to be between a man and a woman. That’s it—it’s clear cut! There may be many things we have to endure as Christians, but redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and to the common good that it is a line we must draw in the sand and a line we must refuse to cross, no matter what the state says. Marriage is the most preeminent and fundamental of human social institutions. Civil institutions did not create the institution of marriage nor can they manufacture a right for those to marry who are incapable of marriage. If the Supreme Court becomes the instrument in June of how marriage is redefined in the law of our nation, it will leave no room for any limitations on what can or cannot constitute a “marriage” under the law. If men are allowed to marry men, and women, women, and we are forced to call it a marriage, what will keep you from marrying more than one woman next, or a child, or your dog, or where will it stop? If the state crosses the line we are going as Christians to be forced to pledge obedience to our Creator instead of to the state. I hope the Supreme Court will not cross that line, but if they do I must refuse to be a part of so-called “gay marriage”, or any kind of marriage perversion, even if Obama, or Caesar says I must do it or else. Obama and Caesar have become a lot alike these days, haven’t they? If my church should be dumb enough, or backslidden enough, or cowardly enough to condone the gay lifestyle, or so-called “gay marriage”, how could I in good conscience stick with that church? There are certainly things going on in my own denomination that I’m not happy with, but I don’t think I could ever put up with this if it ever comes to that in my own church. If you are stuck in a denomination or church that has already gone that route you need to get out of that mess that calls itself a church before your soul is corrupted, if it already isn’t! Preachers, if you won’t stand on the right side here, when will you ever do it? How could we ever in good conscience think that God would bless the church or nation that corrupts His institution of marriage or that condones what He clearly calls an “abomination”? We must render unto Caesar the things that are His, but unto God the things that are God’s! And marriage clearly belongs to God who instituted it, not Caesar! Rev. Darrell Nicklow Orbisonia Church Of the Nazarene—447-3640

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