By Nick Batzig
The bill came in the mail, and I grumbled audibly as I opened it. It was our city property tax bill for the year. It wasn’t the county property tax statement—we had already paid that one. Nor was it the local school taxes, or an excise tax, or an income tax. This was another level of taxation entirely, one that I forget about every year until that blasted bill comes in the mail.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t think I should be taxed. I understand that tax revenue is necessary for our concentric levels of government to provide basic goods and services, like roads and schools and IRS auditors. My beef with this particular tax, and property taxes in general, is that they never end. No matter how long my wife and I live in our home, the bills will keep coming. Long after the final mortgage payment has been made, we’ll be paying property taxes. Year after year after year. Even when we’re dead and buried, and our sons inherit what we’ve left behind, the bills will not relent. They’ll come just the same.
It sort of makes home ownership a myth, right? As long as property taxes exist, no one will ever really own their home, because if you stop paying those taxes, the government will eventually put a lien on your house. Then they’ll take it to sell it at auction and settle your tax bill. You can be thrown out into the street, even though you’ve paid for the property in full.
I bring this up because it strikes me that a lot of people view their sin this way. As if Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, but that was once, a long time ago, and the bills are still coming, requiring payment from us in the form of good works or religious behavior. But, as pervasive as our sin is, the redemption Christ purchased for us is more so. God’s grace is bigger and broader than our worst offenses.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Romans 8:33–35). The answer is no to all of the above. No one and nothing can separate us from the love of God, because our sin has been paid for in full.
The author of Hebrews was even clearer on the subject. He wrote that the sacrificial system of ancient Israel had been “a reminder of sins year after year” (Hebrews 10:3), like a tax bill that’s never satisfied. But the sacrifice of Christ, on the other hand, is “once for all…. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (vv.10,14).
The bill has been paid, once and forever. Salvation is ours in Christ, free and clear. But the best part—our home is with Him, now and forever. Amen.
Written by John Greco