Total Restoration Ministries

Restore unto me the Joy of Your salvation (Psalm 51:12)

One Nation Under God

In Luke 20:25 we find Jesus in His usual matter-of-fact tone rebuking religious leaders who thought politics was going to be an easy way to trip him up.  They had presented a question that seemed innocent enough: is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?  To understand the gravity of the question, it is important to look at the political landscape.

Judaea had been conquered by the Roman Empire.  As such, the Roman army was an occupying force in the land, allowing the Jews to conduct their lives and business as usual, with the understanding that they would be taxes by Rome.  Times haven't changed much.  No one LIKES paying taxes, but for the most part we accept it as part of our duty as citizens.  Still, it was a source of contention to have to abide by the laws of an occupying government.  By posing this questions, the religious leaders thought they could trap Jesus.  If he said it is important to pay taxes to Rome, the people would have brushed him off as a Roman plant.  If he had said not to pay taxes, the religious leaders would have accused him of attempting to rally the people into an uprising against Rome.  It was (in their minds) the perfect trap.

The Lord's response to this trickery was smooth as silk: Give Caesar what is due to him and give God what is due to Him.  With one sentence, Jesus not only pulled himself out of the political debate, but gave us a blue print for how we as His disciples should respond to political debates.

Christians living in the United States of America are fighting hard to defend religious liberties, believing this to be a Christian nation.  The organizing document of country, the United States Constitution, very plainly states otherwise.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution begins with, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  In short: there can be no national religion for the United States of America.  No doubt, this nation was founded upon Christian principles, but that one line rejects the notion of a Christian nation.  

That is a crucial piece to understand and embrace if we are going to be able to navigate the ever changing political landscape and reconcile it with our Christian beliefs.  We are Christians, and we have to accept, understand, and allow that those around us may not be.  That means while we want to share the love of Christ and the truth of God with everyone, we have to recognize they are under no obligation to listen or accept what we have to say.

Does that mean we have to just accept whatever is thrown at us? Of course not.  It does mean that we cannot use our faith as an excuse to ignore the rule of law, but rather we have to operate within the confines of law to achieve our ends, and if the result is not what we desire, we are to respectfully yield to the law of the land.  Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, "Let every person be subject to governing authorities." (Romans 13:1).  The Apostle Peter goes deeper in instruction saying that we cannot allow the freedom we find in God to be a cover for being evil. (1 Peter 2:16)

This means as a Christian, you can voice your opinion about an issue, but if you choose to act violently to get your point across, you are acting outside the will of God.  In our current political climate it means that you are free to rally and march for what you believe in (a candidate, a cause, a social issue) but you are not allowed to violate the law to get your point across.  This nation was crafted by and is governed by the United States Constitution.  If we are going to be one nation under God, then we have to respect the Constitution, and not any particular political ideology.  To do otherwise runs contrary to scripture and you know what that means.


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