Render unto Caesar--We are now deeply entrenched in the 2012 political campaign. Since 2000 Christian leaders have been working diligently to educate, register, and mobilize Christian's to get to the poles and vote their values. And yet, somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of Evangelicals are still not voting. Many Christians have opted out of the political process believing that it is "Caesar's" using Mark 12:17 as their rationale; "And Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him." The natural follow up question is "What belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God?"
I believe the American church has rendered unto Caesar area's that belong to God. Romans 13:1-6 clearly gives authority to the state granting them the power to punish evil and condone good. And we are to submit to that authority. When we examine our civic duty through this prism, we had better make sure that we are participating in the process of choosing leaders that know the Biblical difference between the two. When we relinquish to the state the sovereignty belonging to God, tyranny, oppression and violence are sure to follow. By abandoning the political process we are doing exactly that. Examine the political debate today regarding marriage, the family, the education of our children and the taking care of the poor. These are areas in which God clearly expects His people to take management and responsibility, and yet, we do not render them to God, but to Caesar.
When the people of Israel demanded a king God responded in I Sam. 8:9 "but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights". But the people's response? “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” Up until that point, it was God that went before them and fought their battles. The people of Israel made a conscious decision to replace God with a King. Today, in America, the Christian's lack of involvement in political affairs has resulted in allowing the "king" to lay claim to rights, and responsibilities, that belong to God and to the people of God. How do we change that? The answer is found in Rev 2:5 "Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place."