Render to God the Things That Are God's|
In Matthew 22:21, Jesus gave this important instruction: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” He said this in reply to the Pharisees, who sought to trap Him by asking Him about the Roman poll tax (Matt. 22:15-17). The Lord detected their evil intentions, and He adeptly answered their question so that they went away from Him marveling. He showed them that the coin used to pay the poll tax bore the image and inscription of Caesar, and therefore they should "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
We typically emphasize this first part of Christ’s instruction, but we must be careful not overlook the second part. There are things belonging to God that He has entrusted to our stewardship. We owe it to Him to render these things to Him and to administer them only as He has instructed us. There are no coins with God’s image or inscription on them, but there are other things which are characterized by His holy image and His wonderful name, and in these things we must render our service to Him. These things rightfully belong to God and not to "Caesar,” that is, not to government.
There are some specific applications of this mandate – "Render to God the things that are God’s” – that need to be made in the United States today. Holy institutions and godly arrangements for families are being abandoned in favor of man’s corrupted ideas and depraved ways that are administered through cultural perversions, ungodly laws, and wicked court rulings. These trends need to be reversed before the full wrath of God is provoked against this nation.
One such application pertains to the subject of marriage. Marriage is an institution established by God in the beginning. Notice what the Lord taught about marriage in Matthew 19:4-6:
"Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
It is God who ordained and defined marriage, and He continues to join husbands and wives today. However, our nation has "rendered to Caesar” the institution of marriage so that it is considered nothing more than a matter of states issuing marriage licenses or granting divorces. As a result, states are now redefining marriage in order to include those who practice homosexuality, which God counts as an abomination (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:26-27; 1Cor. 6: 9-10).
Another application is regarding the care and upbringing of children. God has given children as an inheritance for parents. Notice Psalm 127:3 – "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” As the parents’ gift, God has ordained that children are the blessed responsibility of parents. Fathers are told, "Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Mothers are expected to bring up children (1Tim. 5:10) and to love them (Tit. 2:4). However, many American parents have "rendered to Caesar” their children for their upbringing. Their homes have become little more than pit stops where they eat and sleep. Many children even subsist on government support because their fathers have abandoned them and are worse than infidels (1Tim. 5:8).
There is also a lesson to be learned concerning care for aged parents. When the Pharisees shirked their responsibility to provide for their parents, Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 15:4-6:
"For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother .’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”
The Pharisees failure toward their parents was a failure toward God, and it made their worship vain. Like the Pharisees, many Americans have abandoned their parents to the care of others. They have "rendered to Caesar” the responsibility that is their own, and they assume a Social Security check from the government each month can be a substitute for the loving care of a grateful child.
In all of these matters, we need to rend back from Caesar the things that are rightfully God’s. Regardless of the states’ laws and rulings about marriage, it has always been and always will be a holy institution defined and governed by God and God alone. Likewise, children have always been and will always be the responsibility of parents, and no government programs will ever change that. When children are grown, it is their God-given responsibility to honor their aged parents by supporting and caring for them, and no government system will ever take away that responsibility. These are the things of God, and we are bound to render them to Him and not to Caesar. If take these things back for the Lord, then this nation will benefit in ways that are immeasurable.
Stacey E. Durham
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