October 30, 2017

Taxes to Whom Taxes are Due

October 30, 2017


Romans 13:1-7

This week’s sermon text: Romans 16:3-16

Today’s reading raised all sorts of questions for me. As a citizen of a country which came into existence by throwing off the authority of its colonial overlords, Paul’s admonishment to “be subject to the governing authorities” and his statement that “those authorities that exist have been instituted by God,” is a tough pill to swallow. Americans believe in freedom and liberty and justice for all, and that it’s the duty of the people to protect our freedoms. How, then, can we understand Paul’s seemingly passive stance toward governmental authority? Especially the authority of an emperor whose reign was one of terror and violence? Shouldn’t he be encouraging Christians to resist evil and oppression wherever they are found — including the reigning government of the time?

Paul’s words later in the passage may illuminate this quandary. He says in verse 7, “Pay to all what is due them — taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”

Our hearts belong to God. Respecting the laws of legitimate authority is one way we can live out our faith.


  • How can we live out our faith socially, communally, politically?
  • How can we do this without becoming partisan and divisive?


  • How can you show your teachers and other people in charge at your school that you respect them?

Lord of all, help us to live wisely as citizens of our country, remembering always to give God what belongs to God. Amen.