As you are most likely aware, there is a lot of conversation, ideas and general discussions going on regarding the revamping of our current tax system. There are proponents of a flat tax system and others feel that a national sales tax would be the way to go. Still others feel the current system should be either revamped or eliminated altogether.
To enter into one of these exchanges really stirs up a lot of emotion. I’m not interested in an emotional discussion. If I as a Christian, am supposed to turn to the Bible as my “Operator’s Handbook” and it is to be the source of guiding principles (allowing us to work out the details) I’d like to ask…
1. “If we just had only the Bible as our guide, what type of tax system (if any) would it outline for us regarding how we, as Christians, are to support our government?”
You have asked a very good question. To answer your question, we first need a little history lesson. Remember what has been wisely said, “Those who fail to remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” (Author Unknown). That is especially true of Biblical history. If we fail to remember it, then we will be judged just like those people were. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…” (Romans 15:4).
Remember that it was not God’s original design for man to rule over man. It could have even been different for women, if Eve had not been deceived to sin by the serpent. As part of her judgment, God told her, “And thy desire shall be to THY HUSBAND, AND HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE” (Genesis 3:16).
As man became more and more wicked, other men would be in charge over them. When the first murder happened, God handled the matter. “And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And NOW ART THOU CURSED FROM THE EARTH, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; WHEN THOU TILLEST THE GROUND, IT SHALL NOT HENCEFORTH YIELD UNTO THEE HER STRENGTH; A FUGITIVE AND A VAGABOND SHALT THOU BE IN THE EARTH” (Genesis 4:9-12). But after the flood, God put men over men, because they were so bent upon wickedness. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, BY MAN shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6).
Big government, and thus, big taxes, is a direct result of increased sin in a land. “FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF A LAND MANY ARE THE PRINCES THEREOF: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged” (Proverbs 28:2). The more that man sins, the more that government has to grow to control his sin, and the more that taxes will thus have to be raised.
Remember what God told Israel when they asked for a king to rule over them? The Israelites said to Samuel, “Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: NOW MAKE US A KING TO JUDGE US LIKE ALL THE NATIONS”. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: FOR THEY HAVE NOT REJECTED THEE, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM” (I Samuel 8:5-7).
While God would give them what they wanted, please notice how He warned them what it would be like to have a man be their king (a man-made government over them). “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them…He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen…and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest…And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields…even the best of them…AND HE WILL TAKE THE TENTH OF YOUR SEED…HE WILL TAKE THE TENTH OF YOUR SHEEP…AND YE SHALL CRY OUT IN THAT DAY BECAUSE OF YOUR KING WHICH YE HAVE CHOSEN” (I Samuel 8:9-18).
Please notice what the payment would be – one tenth. God was their King, and He asked for His people to give Him one-tenth. “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed” (Deuteronomy 14:22). Now they had chosen a man to rule over them, but that did not diminish their responsibility to still give a tenth to God. In Jesus’ day, He was asked the question about taxes. “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, RENDER THEREFORE UNTO CAESAR THE THINGS WHICH ARE CAESAR’S; AND UNTO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD’S” (Matthew 22:17-21). Man could have gotten by with giving one-tenth of his income to God, but because of his sin, he would now have to give ONE-TENTH TO GOD, and ONE-TENTH TO MAN (and more than a tenth as sin increased – remember Proverbs 28:2 – “For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof.”). Truly SIN IS VERY COSTLY.
So to answer your question, God set the precedent that the one ruling over man would be WORTHY OF ONE-TENTH of his income. But God warned man that that amount would increase as his sin increased.
How far is the Christian to go in paying taxes before he says, “No more!”? As Christians, we can never come to that point. “RENDER THEREFORE TO ALL THEIR DUES: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7). We have to do what is right, and trust God to meet our needs – even our needs of paying the taxes required of us. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
But is there nothing that we can do about high taxes? Write letters to your congressmen and senators? Write letters to the President? Vote for men who support tax cuts? As United States citizens, we can use these privileges given to us, but remember what is the true cause of big government – Proverbs 28:2 – increased SIN among the people of a land.
I have a question for you now. Do you really want to see some tax cuts? Then what you need to see is some SIN CUTS in America. That means we need to see sinners repenting of their sin and coming to Jesus Christ for salvation. And that means that we need to see Christians repenting of their sin and getting right with God. Are you out soulwinning with your church to see people saved? Are you witnessing on the job? Are you giving out Gospel Tracts where ever you go? Are you spending time reading God’s Holy Word (the King James Bible) each day, so that you are right with God? “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:11).
It is rightly said, “Every vote counts.” We are in trouble when people stay home thinking, “I only have one vote – it will not make a difference.” What we need in our country is Christians who will see that one person doing right DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Will you be that one in your family? Will you be that one on your job? That is the only true and lasting answer for lower taxes.