When the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21), it was clear that He meant that the tax money they had asked Him about (v. 19) should be rendered to the king. But did you ever wonder what He had in mind in speaking of the things that should be rendered unto God?
Well, in the context of being asked about money that God’s people owed the government that ruled over them in civil matters, the Lord was surely thinking of the money they also owed the priests who ministered to them in spiritual matters. Remember, the priestly tribe of Levi was granted no inheritance in the Promised Land, leaving them no source of income other than the tithes that faithful Hebrews had to pay if they wanted to render to God what was God’s.
But I believe the Lord was thinking of something else that people should want to render to God. Let’s not forget how the Lord determined what should be rendered to Caesar. The penny He had asked to see (v. 19) bore the emperor’s image (v. 20), and He rightly concluded that it therefore belonged to the emperor. But by that reasoning, since all men bear the image of God by virtue of creation (Gen. 1:27; 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7), they belong to Him and owe Him the glory that historically men have refused to give Him (Rom. 1:21).
Of course, while many Christians glorify their Creator, all of them should, since we who are saved bear God’s image spiritually as well. You see, when God saved you, you were “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29), and you “put on the new man” which bears “the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3:10). So if we render money to Caesar because it bears his image, we should also yield ourselves to God “as those that are alive from the dead” (Rom. 6:13).
In addition, your physical body also belongs to Him (1 Cor. 6:19,20), so it too is among the things that are His that should be rendered to Him. That means that while you will no doubt want to render to God financially to support the ministries that minister to you (1 Cor. 9:11; Gal. 6:6), you should also consider following the lead of the Macedonians, who “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5).
King Hezekiah “rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him” (2 Chron. 32:25), but in light of the endless love and amazing grace that God has bestowed on us, let’s you and I render unto God the things that are God’s!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.
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