Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 38 : Render Unto Caesar | Day 262

Render Obedience to Caesar!

The family quietly filed into the North Dakota courtroom. They respectfully acknowledged the judge, gave her a warm smile, and sat down. The parents were charged with refusing to place their children in public school. Later, the judge shared that she had been prepared to "throw the book" at them, as she had already done in the cases of three other home schooling families that very morning.

However, this family was strikingly different from the others. In fact, the judge was so impressed with the attitudes and behavior of the children that she asked the parents many questions about how they educated their children. In the end, she ruled to postpone their case, pending the outcome of a bill to legalize home education, which was before the state legislature. The bill passed and later that same judge began to home educate her children! This family realized that they were under two jurisdictions: man's jurisdiction under God and God's jurisdiction over all.

Our ultimate appeal is not to the "ruler on the throne" but to God, Who placed him there.

We are to render honor and obedience to civil authorities because they are ministers of God for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do well. (See Romans 13:4.) We are to do this not only to avoid the ruler's wrath, “but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:5).

We are also to render taxes, tributes, custom charges, fear, and honor to civil government in return for benefits that have been provided for our health, safety, and welfare. (See Romans 13:6-7.) We are to do this for the Lord's sake. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him ...” (I Peter 2:13-14).

When it comes to obedience, we must remember that all authorities are under God's authority and are accountable to Him for their decisions and actions. If a ruler commands us to disobey the higher Law of God, we must respectfully appeal, and if our appeal is rejected, we must respectfully obey God's Law. This was the case with Daniel's three friends who refused to bow to the golden image (see Daniel 3:16-18). It was also the case when the religious rulers commanded the apostles not to preach in the name of Jesus. The apostles replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Children learn obedience by the way they see their parents obeying the law in both big and little matters.

A father who instructs his children to obey him but drives over the speed limit, parks in "No Parking" zones, and cheats on his income taxes is, by his actions, teaching his children that you obey authorities only when it is convenient to do so. This double standard is often one of the reasons children rebel against their father's authority, especially when the father gives harsh discipline for disobeying him.

Have you been living according to a double standard by not obeying the laws that our civil authorities have put into place? If you are unsure, ask your family to help you identify any laws you may have broken, and then obey them for the Lord's sake, conscience sake, and your children's sake.

“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard