(Red-letter portions of the New Testament)

Mark 12:7, “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at him.”

To Jesus, there was no question that a Roman coin belonged to Rome. If Rome wants it, give it back to them. The bigger question is what on earth belongs to God? Everything.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1

People must give to God what is His. Even Caesar must bow before Almighty God. When will Caesar render unto God, what God is due? More and more, governments are encroaching on what belongs to God.

Recognizing that tendency, the authors of the U.S. Constitution gave us the 1st Amendment, to safeguard the people’s “unalienable” right to give God his due.

Government is “not to prohibit the free exercise” of religion. However, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, governments and government health officials have prohibited the free exercise of religion.

All government needs is a good reason to deny the free exercise and make it universal, say, find a doctor to sign off on it. Then governments declare that church gatherings are “not essential,” alienable, not constitutionally protected.

Since when do health officials, with the power of government behind them, have the right to declare that worship is not an unalienable right, not “essential,” negate the 1st amendment, and deny God His due?

Scripture says, “do not neglect the gathering of ourselves together as some are in the habit of doing.” (Hebrews 10:25). The church is called the “ekklesia” the called out ones, called out from the world to join together for the worship of God.

However, governments and health officials have decided what is “essential” (constitutional) and they can deny what God is due. According to Jesus, even governments and health officials must “render unto God the things that are God’s.”

How about us, as individuals? Governments aside, do we render unto God what is His in our own life? We are His.

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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