On Tax Day

Today is Tax Day in the USA.  Income taxes are due for most of the country for 2011.  The first quarter of estimated taxes were due today as well. Fun subject, huh?

Rose and I worked ahead of schedule and our forms were done in February.  Our refunds have already returned to us, so this is not a day for last minute calculations and panic, we will both go to work and will have seemingly normal days.

I looked up the word “tax” in the Common English Bible online, it shows up 76 times (Incidentally, the KJV only mentions the word 34 times).  Two of my favorite tax passages are in Romans and in Matthew.  A full exegesis of both passages will yield plenty of questions for the 21st century Christian and where our authority lies.  I am convinced that the Bible will neither support those who blindly support the government’s authority in the world, nor will it support the anti-government or anarchist viewpoint.

I believe that Jesus continues to call his followers to a servant’s place in history, and it still astonishes many.

Romans 13

1 Every person should place themselves under the authority of the government. There isn’t any authority unless it comes from God, and the authorities that are there have been put in place by God.2 So anyone who opposes the authority is standing against what God has established. People who take this kind of stand will get punished.3 The authorities don’t frighten people who are doing the right thing. Rather, they frighten people who are doing wrong. Would you rather not be afraid of authority? Do what’s right, and you will receive its approval.4 It is God’s servant given for your benefit. But if you do what’s wrong, be afraid because it doesn’t have weapons to enforce the law for nothing. It is God’s servant put in place to carry out his punishment on those who do what is wrong.5 That is why it is necessary to place yourself under the government’s authority, not only to avoid God’s punishment but also for the sake of your conscience.6 You should also pay taxes for the same reason, because the authorities are God’s assistants, concerned with this very thing.

7 So pay everyone what you owe them. Pay the taxes you owe, pay the duties you are charged, give respect to those you should respect, and honor those you should honor.

 

Matthew 22

15 Then the Pharisees met together to find a way to trap Jesus in his words.16 They sent their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are genuine and that you teach God’s way as it really is. We know that you are not swayed by people’s opinions, because you don’t show favoritism.

17 So tell us what you think: Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
18 Knowing their evil motives, Jesus replied, “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?19 Show me the coin used to pay the tax.” And they brought him a denarion.

20 “Whose image and inscription is this?”he asked.

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

22 When they heard this they were astonished, and they departed.

(Common English Bible)

 

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