Sunday, 1 December 2013
For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Romans 13:6
In the previous verse, one avenue concerning the change of governments was looked at. There are many ways in which governments change – coup d’etat, elections, overthrow by attacking enemies, etc. are common ways that changes in political landscapes may occur. Another one is implosion through over-taxing of the people and abuse of the taxes which were levied on them.
This is where the United States is today. Although the implosion hasn’t happened yet, the meal is already over, the cake has been served, and her fall is inevitable unless drastic measures are taken; a self-inflicted wound due to greed for power and control. And it has come about in no small part through the taxing system which is in place.
Having said that, and despite that fact, Paul instructs us that it is our obligation to pay taxes. “For” explains the previous thought which is that we are to be subject to the ruling authorities. Because we are, and because they are the ones who levy taxes, we are to pay what they levy. And Paul gives the reason. “For they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.” Their job, even if it means financially ruining the lives of the citizens under them, is ultimately to meet God’s purposes.
It is God who sets up nations and it is He who gives them either good leaders or crummy leaders. This is seen again and again in Scripture as Israel and her surrounding neighbors are highlighted. When a nation is obedient to God, He gives them good leaders who properly shepherd the people. When they turn from him and mock Him and His word, He gives them crummy leaders. In a constitutional republic like the United States, this means that the wound truly is self-inflicted, and yet God knew before the choice was made what it would be.
In a nation such as the US, having an ungodly leader means that a vast portion of the electorate chose that ungodly person. God’s foreknowledge of this is used in the overall plan of nations as He has ordained. Therefore, when a political party comes into power which ignores the constitution, redistributes the earnings of those who work to those who are indolent, shuns God, and promotes perversion, there is still no excuse to not pay the taxes which have been levied – no matter how exorbitant. God’s plans are being worked out, even through such wicked people.
One important lesson of the Bible is that even though God doesn’t author evil, He can work with the evil we perpetrate to meet His good end. So when you get your tax bill and see that it is unfair from your perspective, pay it as you should. You are a citizen of the nation you belong to and the money, though seemingly wasted, is having its intended effect.
Life application: Pay your taxes.
Heavenly Father, You have instructed us in Your word to pay our taxes as responsible citizens of the nation in which we live. It really torques my jaw to pay taxes for the often wicked agenda which I see set in place around me, but I know that even the self-inflicted implosion of my nation is a part of Your plans and that my taxes are ultimately meeting Your purposes. And so I shall pay them as I have been instructed (gritting my teeth and calling out for the return of Jesus as I lick the stamp). Amen.