Note: This post originally appeared on April 11, 2006
Benjamin Franklin is credited with the famous proverb, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
How appropriate for us to ponder his wisdom on these two matters at this time of the year. For it is this time of the year, in particular, where we are forced to deal with one of these issues and have an opportunity to deal with the other.
April 15 is “tax day” in the United States. We are reminded, in no uncertain terms, of the certainty of taxes. Our federal government confiscates huge portions of our income, quite literally at the point of a gun, at rates that far exceed the rates that prompted our forefathers to revolt. What’s worse, the vast majority of the programs for which our money is taken Congress has no constitutional authority to enact.
“Oh but please understand,” they tell us, “We are only doing this for your own good. We want to take care of you from cradle to grave.”
Once again (and I can’t emphasize this enough), Congress has no constitutional authority to do most of what it does. Our country was founded on liberty, not on “being taken care of.” Benjamin Franklin, himself, repudiated this sort of thinking when he said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
But this hasn’t stopped our federal government from setting itself up as our savior for years. They want us to become more and more dependant on them because when our dependency on them increases so, too, does their power over us.
And yet, isn’t it interesting that in the phrase, “from cradle to grave,” the government admits it cannot save us from the other certainty Franklin mentioned? Death.
Franklin was right, death is certain. The Bible is clear on this:
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” – Hebrews 9:27
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
And of course, centuries of human history testify to the certainty of death. And yet, an actual Savior has exhibited power over this most certain of events.
“Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” – Luke 24:1-7
Our hope should rest not in a bloated government of bureaucrats who seek only to increase the amount of power they wield over us, but in the Lord Jesus Christ, who demonstrated, not only His love for us by dying in our stead, but also His ability to deliver on his promise by displaying His power over death.
This time of year reminds us we have to pay our taxes but, praise God, it also reminds us that the victory over death has been won because…
He Is Risen!