***Guilty of Fraud?***

April the 15th has come and gone and by now those of you who are living in the U.S. should have filed your tax returns. The Lord Jesus does not permit any Christian to defraud the government of even one cent that belongs to it, as you will remember His famous instructions: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22:21)

Therefore we must believe that fraud is a doubly serious charge, because it is not only a sin against man's law, but also against God's! In 1 Peter 2:13, the Scriptures direct us to submit ourselves to every institution of man - and the IRS is one of those institutions. Those who think this is not important are in for a giant surprise when they reach the Judgment Seat of Christ, because it is clearly spelled out in His Word: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's."

And yet how much more serious is SPIRITUAL fraud! "Will a man rob God?" comes the question from Malachi 3:8, and the answer - though almost unbelievable - comes from God Himself. He publishes His complaint that He has indeed been robbed by men - SPIRITUAL FRAUD! It is a sin that is frequently committed by many if not all of us, hardly ever confessed, and even less repented of and forsaken. But God's law stands - as clear as His command regarding Caesar. He says: "Render...unto God the things that are God's." Do you do this?

Think it over - what is God's? What belongs to Him so that we should render it unto Him? How should we render it unto Him so as to not be guilty of robbing Him as those in Malachi's day? Here are just a few of the things that the Bible says are God's, that you and I should make sure above all else that we render unto Him. But the list is purposefully left incomplete, so that you can study your own Bible and add to the list, of course realizing that beneath every point you should explain HOW you are going to render that to God in day-to-day living:

1. The Earth & All Things In It. (Ps. 24:1);
2. The Inhabitants Of Earth (Ps. 24:1);
3. Your Body (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 12:1-2);
4. Your Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20);
5. Your Children (Ps. 127:3-4);
6. Your Possessions (1 Cor. 4:7);
7. Your Gifts/Abilities
(1 Cor. 12:7,11,18);
8. The Church (Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 3:9).

Such things are God's and should be rendered unto Him and not unto others. To do otherwise is to commit spiritual fraud and sin against the Lord. April 15th has nothing to do with it - we must render such things unto God each day of life that He graciously gives us - for life itself is from Him.

Carl Knott
Huesca, Spain

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