Posted On October 20, 2021

Paying Our Taxes

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Featured, Romans

Romans 13:6-7, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

In today’s passage, Paul concludes his discussion of what a life transformed by the gospel looks like in the context of the believer’s relationship to the governmental authorities. Before we examine Romans 13:6-7, however, we would be remiss if we did not consider what the Apostle’s instruction means for the rulers of this world. Given Paul’s stress on government as the Lord’s instrument of wrath on wrongdoers, those who hold positions in the government have a duty to punish evil and protect innocent people. Any governmental official who does not fulfill this responsibility will be held to account for his failure to do his duty. Those who are called to serve as senators, judges, governors, and otherwise represent the civil magistrate have a high calling indeed as ministers of justice, and we must hold their feet to the fire when they do not do their jobs. The church fulfills its call to be the conscience of the state not only by obeying the laws of the state but also by calling for our leaders to protect the unborn, show no partiality in the court system, and so forth.

Romans 13:6-7 stresses the importance of paying taxes. Paul covers several points. First, the Apostle assumes that his audience is already paying taxes to the secular authorities. The Greek construction of verse 6 carries with it the idea that the believers’ payment of taxes means they implicitly recognize that the state has the authority that Paul says it has. Second, Paul recognizes that the reason we pay taxes is so that the government can fulfill its role of punishing evil and protecting the innocent. Finally, the Apostle indicates that we owe more to the governing authorities than just our taxes. By virtue of the government’s role as ministers in the civil sphere to promote order and the common good, we owe our leaders respect and honor. This does not mean that we cannot question the government; it does mean that we endeavor to show respect even when we must call the state to account for its failures.

In sum, Paul’s teaching on the government recognizes that it is part of God’s moral order and that we submit ourselves to the Lord by submitting to the governing authorities. At the same time, this call to submission is not a call for us to do whatever the state says. We can justify sin by saying “the government made me do it” no more than we can justify it by saying “the devil made me do it.” We may not break God’s law in order to obey the secular authorities, but we also may not disobey the government for frivolous reasons.

Coram Deo

God calls us to pay taxes, not to approve of everything our tax money pays for. In Paul’s day, tax money was used to pay the salaries of soldiers and other officials who persecuted Christians and committed other evils. Nevertheless, Paul told the church at Rome to pay its taxes anyway. Paying our taxes is not a sign that we endorse everything the government does with our money; rather, it is one way we fulfill God’s command to submit to the state.

Paying Our Taxes, Copyright (2021), Ligonier Ministries.

Related Posts

The Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us How to Pray Every Other Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer Teaches Us How to Pray Every Other Prayer

The Lord's Prayer Teaches Us How to Pray Every Other Prayer from Crossway on Vimeo. A Prayer Model The Lord's Prayer is a model for us. It's not the only prayer that we ever pray, and Jesus is not telling his disciples (or telling us), You just have to say this one...

The Demands of Biblical Discipleship

The Demands of Biblical Discipleship

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What Does it Mean to Deny Myself and Take Up My Cross Daily?” What You'll Hear on this Episode The Terms of Discipleship. The Tradeoff of Discipleship. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe...

Preaching as Christian Warfare

Preaching as Christian Warfare

On today's episode of For Life and Godliness, you will hear a lecture Drew gave on preaching as Christian Warfare. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to Life and Godliness via iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. If you like what you’ve heard,...

How to Reach Our Progressive Friends

How to Reach Our Progressive Friends

Several years ago, I went through an intense time of doubt after my faith was rocked in a class led by a pastor who admitted he was an agnostic and who would later identify himself as a “progressive Christian.” At the time, I had never heard of progressive...

Five Attributes of God and Their Meaning in Scripture

Five Attributes of God and Their Meaning in Scripture

The Eternity of God Revelation 1:8 supports God’s sovereignty with three statements, the first of which expresses the eternity of God: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God.” God reigns over all since He is before and after all things. “The Alpha and the...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share
Tweet3
Email
Reddit
Share