A lot of “church people” use this statement but do they really understand what it means? In Matthew 22:21 Christ said: “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” At the time He was referencing the currency that has Caesar’s name and image on the coins so that was a product of Caesar. In essence, that form of currency was Caesar’s currency so it belonged to him. However, the back portion of this statement is what is the most significant, “and to God what is God’s.” Even though Caesar was powerful and controlled a large province with his loyal subjects, God is Almighty and created all things in heaven and upon the earth. If you give to God what belongs to God you would have to surrender your entire being, body, mind, and soul. So yes, give Caesar his taxes and what is due to him, but your mind, body, and soul belongs to God.
So how do you separate what you give to the government from what you rightly owe to God? In order to do so, you must determine whom do you follow? Do you follow a man as your god or do you put God ahead of the laws of man? I like how the three faithful servants of God made their decision in the book of Daniel where they were given a similar choice of being thrown in the fiery pit because they decided to serve God rather than honor the king. Read the story in the third chapter but here is what they said to the powerful king in verses 17 and 18: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Ultimately we are called upon to make such a decision. Will we put what belongs to God ahead of what mankind urges us to do otherwise? Yes, there are a lot of things that man controls and belong to man rightfully so, but our servitude belongs only to God. If there is a conflict we should take our stand for God’s righteousness over how any other force or power might compel us otherwise. Does that entail us being thrown into the fire? Yes, hypothetically, but if you are tuned to God by way of a personal relationship I doubt if such a decision would need to be made. Being tuned to God means that you are indwelled with the Holy Spirit… if God required such a spectacle He would give you what is necessary to go through what He allows. We do not have to make such a decision because that is the purpose of our indwelling Spirit. If you are not sure of your status with God then you would have a reason to be doubtful.
Paul tells us that we have been bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” This should also tell you that not all people belong to God even though God created all people. Although God paid the ultimate price for us, not everyone accepts the purchase price or the purchase agreement. Where there is no meeting of the minds there is no binding agreement. However, for those that accept the price and the agreement, their temples belong to God and they should honor their agreements.
This means that since we have been purchased at a price we no longer belong to ourselves but to God who purchased us. With that stated we must give to God what belongs to Him just as we are to give to the government the stuff that belongs to them. Where there is a conflict you will know what belongs to whom and thereby where your loyalty should be placed. For me, the process is very simple, my all belongs to God so that takes the doubt out of the decision. There is nothing left for me to give to Caesar because I forfeited my ownership over to God.
Saying this and doing it are two different matters. Some honor God with their lips but their acts and deeds prove otherwise. I do not say this lightly because as we are facing trials and tribulations it is most difficult to stare the enemy in the face and stay focused. One can only imagine how those three young servants of God felt as they were being tossed into the hot furnace. They were born for that very purpose. God knew this mission for them long before they were born. He knew that their story would be here for us right now as we face our challenges. This was an ultimate act of faith and only God can supply you with the strength and courage to face something that He wants to use in order to achieve divine purposes.
Again, knowing about such things and actually putting them into practice at times of need depends upon the strength of one’s faith. Those with weak faith will more than likely crumble while even those with strong faith will be frightened. Though our bodies might be offered to God our minds are still here on earth facing the fear of pain and suffering. The one difference is that as you suffer you are not along if you belong to God almighty. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” It helps to know that as you are going through things it is not just for our suffering but also for our spiritual growth and development turning us into what God desires of His children.
As I was speaking with my brother of the faith I was telling him that I would be happy to give to Caesar what belongs to him but since I have given my all to God ain’t nothing left to give. I must be careful making statements such as that because our enemy, the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking tasty Christians to devour. There is no need to antagonize him any more than what is absolutely necessary. For that, I also give to God so if there is anything left they all will have to get it from God. To God be the Glory… Selah!