Pay them willingly?

Taxes, that is. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Romans 13 was likely a redaction, inserted to please the Roman authorities and get the heat off of the nascent Church. Here in the secular world, we pay taxes willingly in the United States, for the most part because we fear the repercussions if we do not.

All that being said, I also claim that Romans 13 is every bit as much part of the inerrent word of God as the rest of the Book. Redaction or not, and in it we have God, through His scribe, instructing us in the matter of the authorities and their tax levies:

Romans 13: 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

One can only hope that our authorities are worthy of honor. When they are not, as is often the case, it’s also our Christian duty to replace them. The good news, pun intended, is that here in America we can do that without the sword.

Bottom line (couldn’t resist): pay your taxes, and understand that your true reward comes not in the here and now, but with God’s judgment in the end.

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