That dreaded day is upon us again, April 15th.
When our American fathers stormed the Boston docks, threw out the British tea, and cried, “No taxation without representation,” they could not possibly have imagined what freedom from our mother country would bring.
Untold treasure and opportunity, true. But we also have incurred the privilege of paying now over 50% of our income in taxes of an alarming variety. You work half of the year just to do that. Many of those taxes are forked over on that depressing 24-hour period called April 15th.
Some might be inclined to pine away for the good old days. To illustrate, in 1935 Roosevelt started our new Social Security program promising that it would take only 2% of our income. But here we are today, 15% deeper in.
I’m not fond of big government or quarterly checks to the IRS any more than you are, but I can say that I still enjoy the immense privileges of being in this country. The truth is, most people in America fare much better than their forebears, and in a country that is still free and full of opportunity. We shouldn’t complain, even while we try to bring down the taxes to a more reasonable level. Until that happens, however, April 15th remains the worst day of the year.
What if something different happened on April 15th this year? What if, for once, you didn’t have to pay taxes on that day? None!
What if instead it became the day you stand before someone bigger than the IRS? What if it were the day you die and stand before God?
Paying taxes won’t seem like such an unbearable burden on that day. In fact, you might be happy to give everything you have, and then some, just to return to your tax forms and calculator. Everything you owe God would come due in one moment. But, if you have not settled accounts through Christ beforehand, it will be too late no matter what you offer.
As Jesus said: What will a man give in exchange for his soul?
The tax on living a sinful life before a holy God is eternity in hell. And it is a just tax, if ever there was one. It may seem like too much to you, but that is only because you have a low view of God and His standards. You have been good by comparison, you think. But you are comparing yourself to others like yourself, not to God.
On the other hand, that day could be much better than all other days you have ever known—if your tax on life were paid by another. Christ came to do that, that is, He came to pay the just penalty for the sins of people like you and me so that we could stand forgiven and righteous before God in Christ.
I don’t want to be nagging about this, but you have already waited nearly too long to get this taken care of. The day is approaching. If you do not act in time, the day of your death, or perhaps of Christ’s coming, could arrive while you are still procrastinating. And this time you cannot file an extension.
Your sin burden is far more serious than your tax burden. I am warning you not because I enjoy it, but because you have to act immediately. “Now is the day of salvation” said Paul (2 Corinthians 6:2).
You may work half your year to cover all your taxes in this country, but in hell it takes much longer—forever.
It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment. Hebrews 9:27
© Jim Elliff 2007