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Distinguishing Between Caesar and God

(The following is the January 27 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 22 and pay close attention to verses 15-22.)

Jesus’ opponents repeatedly tried to trap him with trick questions. He either refused to respond or answered in a way that left them amazed and unable to continue the conversation. Once they asked, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” (v. 17). After noting Caesar’s inscription on a coin, Jesus said, “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (v. 21).

God established human governments for society's good (Rom. 13:1-7). Leaders may not govern in Christ-honoring ways, but the role and authority of government are, nevertheless, God-ordained. Unfortunately, there may come times when government expectations directly conflict with biblical commands. We hope not to face that situation, but should that day come, we must be prepared to say, as the apostles did, “We must obey God rather than people” (Acts 5:29).

Christians should be law-abiding, model citizens. We should exercise our civic duties and participate in the political process to elect godly leaders and promote policies compatible with biblical values. We should also remember that we do not base our primary hope for changed lives on any government, political party, leader, or legislation. Only Christ can solve society’s profound issues one heart at a time. That requires his people to prioritize the gospel as God’s solution for the most significant human problem – sin.

Pray for those in authority at all levels of government. Work for the common good as you live according to a biblical worldview. Give “to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (v. 21).

Next Step:

Reflect on your relationship with governing authorities. How can you be a better citizen, honoring Christ while participating in the political process? Do you place too much hope in political solutions to societal problems? How can you prioritize the gospel as the best solution to change hearts eternally?

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