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Render Unto Caesar

[Tit. 1:15–2:10; Luke 20:19–26] Ren­der there­fore unto Cae­sar the things which be Cae­sar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s. This means that each gets what is his own. In our times, instead of “the things which be Cae­sar’s” we should say, “the things which are earth­ly.” Also, earth­ly things have their turn, while God­ly things have theirs. But every­one has rushed toward earth­ly things alone, and they leave the God­ly things behind. That is why God­ly things not only are left out of their prop­er place — that is, the first pri­or­i­ty — but are com­plete­ly for­got­ten. A con­se­quence of this as if unin­ten­tion­al for­get­ful­ness is that the God­ly is dark­ened over in one’s con­scious­ness, and then both its con­tent and foun­da­tion become un­ clear. From this come weak­ness of con­vic­tion and unsteadi­ness of faith; and then alien­ation from faith, and influ­ence of the winds of var­i­ous of teach­ings. Every­one goes down this path when they begin to be care­less about God­ly things; soci­ ety takes this path when it begins to ignore what God requires of it. When God­ly things are left in the back­ground, then eman­ci­pa­tion from God­ly require­ments begins to set into soci­ety, in the intel­lec­tu­al, moral and aes­thet­ic sense. Seculari­ zation (serv­ing the spir­it of the time) occurs of pol­i­tics, cus­toms, en­ ter­tain­ment, and then of edu­ca­tion and all insti­tu­tions. At the cur­rent time, peo­ple do not think, speak, write or even keep God­ly things in mind — not in any of their under­ tak­ings. Is it sur­pris­ing, giv­en such a mood, that teach­ings con­trary to the faith find access to soci­ety and that soci­ety is inclined toward total un­ belief?

Saint Theo­phan