Paying Taxes

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					                            Paying
                             Taxes
                                              --Louis C. Wallen III




T     axes are something that we do not like to pay nor even think about. At best we consider them a
      necessary evil. Many feel they should not pay their taxes. Some even have religious reasons for
      this. They say the government uses the money for things Christians should not support. And men
have many other reasons to not pay taxes.
        However all of us do pay taxes in one form or another. Many things we buy have already been
taxed. When we then pay a sales tax we are then taxed twice. Many cheat on their income taxes because
they feel they pay too much.
        What should be our attitude towards taxes as children of God? As citizens in this nation we do
have some say in our laws and law-makers. We need to use this privilege carefully. However what do
the scriptures say about taxes?
       Scripture talks about taxes many times. Jesus dealt with it several times in His ministry. The
Bible does not condemn taxes, although it does recognize they can be abusive —Amos 5:11. It does
teach us, as God‟s children, the right attitude towards them.
       In Genesis 41 Joseph advises Pharaoh to tax the people during the seven years of plenty. Then
during the seven years of famine he used the money and grain they collected to buy all the land of all the
people. Solomon taxed the people heavily. When he died the nation asked for some relief. His son,
Rehoboam refused and the nation divided —1 Kings 21.
       Jesus had to deal with the issue of taxes on several occasions. We see one of these in Matthew
17:24-27. We read there
 24 When they had come to Capernaum, those who received the temple tax came to Peter and said, "Does your
 Teacher not pay the temple tax?" 25 He said, "Yes." And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him,
 saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or
 from strangers?" 26 Peter said to Him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. 27 "Nevertheless,
 lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened
 its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you."
        Here Jesus deals with a religious tax. This was the „temple tax‟. It was about two days‟ wages for
a common worker. It was imposed yearly on every male Jew, 20 years old and up —see Exod 30:12-14,
38:26 & 2 Chron 24:6. Evidently the tax is due and the collectors are looking for Jesus. They ask Peter if
He will pay it. Peter assumes the best and says, “Yes.” This tax is not the „tithe‟. Many times we think
the Jews only gave 10% to the temple and priests —and some think this was all they gave and there were
no government taxes. Yet they gave more. They brought yearly sacrifices, special sacrifices, firstborn
sacrifices, the temple tax and so forth. They gave far more than 10% to the temple and priests and to
God. This did not include their local and national taxes. When they were captives peoples there were
other taxes they paid to the pagan nations. We think we are heavily taxed. This is not new.
        Jesus anticipates Peter‟s question. He asks Peter a question about paying taxes. Do the kings of
earth tax their family or others. They usually taxed others. Their family, and their rich friends, were often
exempted. Peter answered properly that they tax strangers. Jesus says that the sons are free. They do not
have to pay the tax. This would be Jesus and Peter. Jesus is the divine Son of God. The temple is His.
Peter is a son of the kingdom. Yet Jesus says to pay the tax and tells him how.
        Jesus says to pay the tax, „lest we offend them.‟ Certain people were looking for excuses to
criticize Jesus and His followers. He says to pay the tax, even though they do not have to, to not give
outsiders an opportunity to blaspheme. This is an important N.T. principle. We don‟t always do things
because we have to. We do them to not allow evil men to criticize God and His church. We read in 1
Timothy 6:1; „Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all
honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.‟ Jesus even paid a tax He did
not have to pay in order to not look bad.
        This example was the temple tax. It was used to pay for the temple and its upkeep and so forth.
On another occasion Jesus dealt with civil taxes. In Matthew 22:15 to 22 Jesus is asked if they should
pay taxes to Caesar. The Jews hated taxes as we do. They especially hated to be taxed by Rome. If Jesus
says, “No,” the Herodians will tell Rome and get Him in trouble —see Luke 23:2. If He says, “Yes,” He
will be in trouble with the people. Jesus is between a rock and a hard place.
        Jesus deals with it by asking for a coin. It has Caesar‟s image and inscription (TICAESAR-
DIVIAVGFAVGVSTVS, which stands for the words, „Tiberius Caesar, Divi Augusti Filius Augustus‟;
that is, „Tiberius Caesar, the August Son of the Divine Augustus‟; —McGarvey‟s Fourfold Gospel).
Rome stamps the coins they use. They are dependent on Rome in many ways. Jesus says to give to
Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.
       Rome used the taxes for many things the Jews would not approve of. Most of the taxes went to
Rome and did not benefit the Jewish people at all. Yet Jesus says to pay the taxes. He says to give Rome
what belongs to Rome. Rome is then responsible to Jehovah God for how they use it.
      Paul talked about government and rulers in Romans 13. He deals with taxes in verses 5 and 6.
We read there;
 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. 6 For because of this you
 also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their
 due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
       Verses 1 to 4 had argued that we must obey the government because they are ordained by God.
They are even set up by God to punish wrong-doers. Verse 5 says we subject ourselves to the
government and its laws because of wrath and conscience. We are afraid of punishment and we want to
have a good conscience before God by doing what is right. Verse 7 says that this includes paying our
taxes. We must give taxes and customs to all whom they are due. We may not like it but we must as
children of God. We must also, „Do all things without complaining and disputing‟ —Phil 2:14. Many
pay their taxes but complain. Christians shouldn‟t.
        We see then that while we may not like it, we must pay our taxes. We cannot make excuses that
the government has no right to tax us or they do not use them in the right way or they abuse their right or
any other excuse. Probably none of us like paying taxes, even though we see some need for them.
However they are a part of life and always have been. Scripture does not condemn them but teaches us
the right attitude and behavior we should have towards them. —louis
THE PERFECT CHURCH
 I think that I shall never see,
     A church that's all it ought to be;
 A church whose members never stray,
     Beyond the straight and narrow way.

 A church that has no empty pews,
     Whose preacher never has the ‘blues’;
 Whose elders ‘eld’, and deacons ‘deak’,
     And none are proud, and all are meek.

 Where Gossips never peddle lies,
     Or make complaints, or criticize;
 Where all are always sweet and kind,
     And all to others’ faults are blind.

 Such ‘perfect’ churches there may be,
     But none of them are known to me;
 But still I’ll work, and pray and plan,
     To make this church the best I can!
                --Anonymous

				
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