What do Scriptures Say about Cheating on our Taxes?
Paying taxes to a government run by career politicians who don’t seem to answer to the people anymore can be galling, but God provides clear direction on the topic. Jesus paid taxes and we are expected to, as well. If we aren’t careful, we could easily fall into the trap of cheating on taxes because “everyone does it” or because we believe we aren’t likely to get caught. Being a Christian is about letting God be our Lord and not we ourselves. When scriptures are specific about what God likes and what he hates, they are like marching orders. The following scriptures provide God’s point of view on paying taxes.
Scriptures about Paying Taxes
(See Romans 13:1-7) Romans 13:1 says for every person to submit to governing authorities. In verse 7a, it says, “Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due…” In the passage, it also says that we do a good thing when we are subject to authority but we practice evil if we are not. And then in verse 5, it says, “Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”
Pay Taxes to Caesar?
In Luke 20:19-26, we see that scribes and high priests were trying to trap Jesus in his words. They directly asked in verse 22, “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” All-wise Jesus knew of their intent and asked them whose image is on coins. After they replied that it was Caesar’s, He said in verse 25, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
Jesus Knew Tax Collectors were Crooked
In Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus told a parable in which, among other things, he seems to acknowledge that tax collectors are corrupt. Jesus put the religious leaders in their place, especially when he said in verse 31b, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.” Then he told them specifically why in verse 32, “For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”
Scriptures about Taxes in the Old Testament
Paying taxes wasn’t just mentioned in connection with Jesus. Scriptures in the Old Testament indicate that God has always expected his people to pay the government leaders their due. There is a mention of taxes in Nehemiah 5:4: “There were also those who said, ‘We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our lands and vineyards’.”
In 1 Samuel 17:24-25, David learned that whoever killed Goliath would get some great benefits, including exemption from taxes in Israel. He was defending God’s name when he went to battle, but he was surely wise enough to also recognize that paying no taxes was a great perk.
Be a Blessed Taxpayer
Life is better when we obey God because we don’t have to deal with the pesky conscience and the division it puts between us and our heavenly Father. It’s clear God cares about paying taxes. So, go ahead and be honest on those tax forms. May the Holy Spirit be your guide and take the sting out.