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“[Jesus said] to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”  (Matthew 22:21)

What a horrifying statement.  Is our Lord Jesus Christ actually suggesting that some things don’t belong to God?  Is He giving Christians permission to participate in the sinful institutions of man?  Doesn’t He know that God wants us to be perfect, as He is perfect? (Matthew 5:48)

First, no; second and third, yes.  Of course our Lord knows that all things belong to God.  Engaging debate as a good rabbi, He simply makes a thought-provoking distinction with few words and a strong image.  But yes, He is giving His followers the freedom to participate in government, economy, and other institutions of this world, and He does so precisely because He knows that our Father wants us to be perfect as He is perfect.

For the Father’s perfection is known in this: His beloved Son assumed the flesh of this world, and dwelt and worked among sinners, for the sake of redeeming them—He even assumed the sin of the world on the cross.  Thus gifting us with His enduring friendship, God frees us—He frees you—to take on the burdens of your neighbors, too, even in something as sinful as government or (gasp!) capitalism, for the sake of love, kindness, and mercy.

LET US PRAY:  Father, Your perfection makes all things perfect!  Grant me such faith in Your Son’s mercy towards me that I take up the yoke of loving as He has first loved me; in His name I pray.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau