March 30, 2011
Death and Taxes
By Ryan Duncan, Editor for TheFish.com
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” - John 8:34
A classmate of mine once said that she could not believe in God because a loving God would not be so cruel as to send people to Hell. I admit, at the time, I couldn’t help feeling she was right.
I had sat through countless lectures on the love and mercy of Christ; but how could that same God justify sending people to Hell? Sure, maybe murderers and criminals deserved to be punished, but the average Joe? For all eternity? Just because they weren’t a Christian? That seemed pretty ruthless.
Fast forward a couple of years and I am introduced to the American Tax System. I swear, nothing in life has even been so needlessly complicated, painfully frustrating, or overwhelmingly stressful as doing taxes. I spent an entire afternoon typing in my name, age, blood type, psychological profile, if I was filing jointly with an iguana, and giving background on every job I’ve ever held, including a lemonade stand from when I was eight.
Somewhere in the midst of W2 forms though, it struck me how my taxes may have provided the answer for my spiritual uncertainty. Taxes may be frustrating, but it was still the law, and the government was justified in making me do them. We can make excuses for how we spend, we can try to play the system with charitable works, but in the end, the law demands that we stand accountable before a greater power and face the consequences for our actions.
R.C. Sproul writes,
“Is the death penalty for sin unjust? By no means. Remember that God voluntarily created us. He gave us the highest privilege of being His image bearers. He made us but a little lower than the angels. He freely gave us dominion over all the earth. We are not turtles. We are not fireflies. We are not caterpillars or coyotes. We are people. We are the image bearers of the holy and majestic King of the cosmos. We have not used the gift of life for the purpose God intended. Life on this planet has become the arena in which we daily carry out the work of cosmic treason. – R.C. Sproul
The truth is not always kind, sometimes it is brutal, and the truth of God is that even the best of us has erred to the point of condemnation. So, what now? Well, we can spend our time trying to deny our guilt, or we can accept that Christ sacrificed himself to give us a way out. We can recognize Christ’s grace for what it is, a gift, and we can forgive others the same way Christ has forgiven us.
Intersecting Faith and Life
Take some time to thank God of the simple things in your life.