Render to God the Things That Are God's

by Douglas Hoff

 

Luke 20:22-25 (NKJV) says:  "Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" {23} But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, "Why do you test Me? {24} "Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?" They answered and said, "Caesar's." {25} And He said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

 

When we read this passage we realize Jesus was showing it is necessary to pay taxes even to unrighteous governments.  However, the other part of His answer is more important.  That is, render to God the things that are God's.  With its imprint the denarius showed it belonged to the government's realm.  In a similar fashion Christians reveal to whom they belong by the image and inscription which is upon them.

Whose image do we bear?  God's, for we were created in His image (Genesis 1:26-27).  Christians have a special relationship with the Lord.  As Paul said they are "predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).  He also wrote that "as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man" (1 Corinthians 15:49).  Additionally, whose inscription do we bear?  Christ's, for as His disciples we are an epistle of Christ to be read by all men (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).  It has rightly been said that the only Bible some people will read is that found in the life of a Christian.  In Galatians 2:20 Paul said that "Christ lives in me." We need to remember that non-Christians are watching and "reading" us.  What will they see?

An important responsibility Christians have is to remember that we ought to render to God the things that are God's.  After all, every created thing belongs to God.  We are just stewards of His goods (Luke 16:1; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2). What are some examples of things we ought to give to Him?  Our very lives belong to God.  Paul wrote, "For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:20).  Jesus bought us with His shed blood (Acts 20:28).  Therefore, Christians belong to God in a special way.  Accordingly, we are told to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). That is one thing we render to God.

Of course, every person was given life by God and so even the non-Christian is not his own (Ezekiel 18:4).  He owes his life to God who gave him his spirit (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Zechariah 12:1).  Long ago king Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall ("MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN") and Daniel told him, "the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified" (Daniel 5:23).  Notice that even a person's breath belongs to God!  This makes sense since God created the air and therefore it is His (Psalms 24: 1).

King Belshazzar learned too late that he had a responsibility to worship the God of heaven.  Instead, he had praised the gods made with human hands; the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone (Daniel 5:23).  The one thing that we can truly give of ourselves to God is worship.  This is because worship arises from the will of man.  It requires a conscious decision and the desire to praise the God of heaven.

The LORD created mankind with free will.  He will never force man to do something against his will.  He is well pleased when we choose to offer Him our worship.  Long ago Jesus said: "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23). Our worship is perhaps the most important thing we can render to God which He rightly deserves (Isaiah 42:8, 12; Luke 17:18; Acts 12:23).

 

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