Honor, Obey, and Pay

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We live in a day when “honor” is a very unpopular word in the world around us. Ungodly people do not want to obey any authority over them, therefore; they choose to tear down the reputation of those in authority and do not give leaders the respect God would have them show.
Romans 13:1 says, 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.
I believe this passage in Romans is clearly speaking about civil authority; not church authority. I am to be subject to the civil authority of our country in 2019. Our President, members of Congress, state Representatives, governors, local Sheriff, State Police, Building Code Inspectors, Local Game Warden; all these are “Higher Powers.”
All the men and women serving in these positions have been “ordained of God” to fill these positions. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
But what if some of these “Higher Powers” are professing idolaters, homosexuals, agnostics, or tyrants? What if they are found, while in office, to be thieves, murderers, or adulterers? Does this mean that they no longer need to be honored as the Ordained of God?
For he is the minister of God to thee for good (Rom 13:4a). If Paul could take this position while under the awful tyrant Nero, a man who openly murdered his mother, a leader who cruelly slaughtered Christians and burnt their bodies on top of poles in his private gardens at night, then we are obliged to do the same in the U.S. in 2019. The wickedness of governments does not give us the right to stop honoring, obeying, and paying. We still must believe, by faith, that our leaders today are the ministers of God.
Certainly, we understand that there are times when we must obey God rather than men. We are citizens of the heavenly kingdom as well as the earthly. We are dual citizens with a responsibility to both.
Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake (Rom 13:5). We are not to obey only because of the fear of a fine or a jail sentence but for “conscience sake.” We must be subject to civil powers, not resisting against them, because of this biblical command. We do not want to receive damnation because we resisted.
Once again, we are at the tax time of year. For this cause pay ye tribute also… Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Rom 13:6-7). How honest will we be with our income and expenses on our tax forms? If I am truly a Christian, I will follow my conscience carefully at tax time.
Picture Jesus standing before the hypocritical Pharisees holding a penny, looking at the image imprinted on it. The Pharisees had just asked, Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
Jesus answered, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.
In today’s language, I believe it simply means pay our taxes to the government and give what is God’s in the offering or other charities. I need to pay all my taxes willingly. County tax. Sales tax. School tax. Is it right for me to be a careless bookkeeper during the year and thereby conveniently avoid reporting all income at the end of the year? Is it acceptable as a Christian businessman to help others avoid sales tax by allowing them to fill out exemptions that I know are not valid for their situations? Is it honorable in God’s eyes to hire a non-Christian tax accountant so that he can do what I conscientiously cannot; cheating the government out of their tribute for my benefit?
Read the last sentence of your tax income return again. “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this Return, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete.” Before you sign your name think, “Is it really true, correct, and complete?”.
May God help us to honor, obey, and pay our civil Authorities and pay our required Tributes.