Are Christians obliged to pay taxes to the government?


By BibleAsk Team

Christians and Taxes

Jesus was asked this same question by the Pharisees: “Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought Him a denarius, and He asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then He said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:17-21).

Jesus taught that Caesar must be obeyed in respect to what is his due, and God in respect to what is His due (Matthew 22:21). The Christian is not to ignore the just claims of the state upon him. He must cooperate with “the powers that be” because they are “ordained of God” (Romans 13:1).

Some feel that they should not pay their taxes because the tax system and the government are corrupt but the scriptures in Romans 13:1-7 tell us:

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good.”

“But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

By supporting the civil government with their taxes, Christians are acknowledging that they owe obedience to the state “for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well” (1 Peter 2:14). Therefore, even if the money was not used properly or if the leaders were not godly, this should not stop Christians from doing their legal duty. And God will judge the leaders of the nation on how they spend the resources. When Paul wrote about paying taxes to the Romans, Nero, the most wicked emperor was head of the state, yet Christians were instructed to pay their taxes to him.

But Christians are free to take every tax deduction that is legal and to use every honest opportunity to minimize their taxes as long as it is done truthfully. The apostle Paul, in Romans 13:2, warns against dishonesty with the authorities, “Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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