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13 Every person must obey the leaders of the land. There is no power given but from God, and all leaders are allowed by God. The person who does not obey the leaders of the land is working against what God has done. Anyone who does that will be punished.

Those who do right do not have to be afraid of the leaders. Those who do wrong are afraid of them. Do you want to be free from fear of them? Then do what is right. You will be respected instead. Leaders are God’s servants to help you. If you do wrong, you should be afraid. They have the power to punish you. They work for God. They do what God wants done to those who do wrong.

You must obey the leaders of the land, not only to keep from God’s anger, but so your own heart will have peace. It is right for you to pay taxes because the leaders of the land are servants for God who care for these things. Pay taxes to whom taxes are to be paid. Be afraid of those you should fear. Respect those you should respect.

Do not owe anyone anything, but love each other. Whoever loves his neighbor has done what the Law says to do. The Law says, “You must not do any sex sin. You must not kill another person. You must not steal. You must not tell a lie about another person. You must not want something someone else has.” The Law also says that these and many other Laws are brought together in one Law, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Anyone who loves his neighbor will do no wrong to him. You keep the Law with love.

11 There is another reason for doing what is right. You know what time it is. It is time for you to wake up from your sleep. The time when we will be taken up to be with Christ is not as far off as when we first put our trust in Him. 12 Night is almost gone. Day is almost here. We must stop doing the sinful things that are done in the dark. We must put on all the things God gives us to fight with for the day. 13 We must act all the time as if it were day. Keep away from wild parties and do not be drunk. Keep yourself free from sex sins and bad actions. Do not fight or be jealous. 14 Let every part of you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not allow your weak thoughts to lead you into sinful actions.

Submission to Governing Authorities

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,(A) for there is no authority except that which God has established.(B) The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,(C) and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.(D) For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.(E) Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.(F)

This is also why you pay taxes,(G) for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes;(H) if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Love Fulfills the Law

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.(I) The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a](J) and whatever other command there may be, are summed up(K) in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b](L) 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.(M)

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come(N) for you to wake up from your slumber,(O) because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.(P) So let us put aside the deeds of darkness(Q) and put on the armor(R) of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness,(S) not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.(T) 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,(U) and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[c](V)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. 5:17-19,21
  2. Romans 13:9 Lev. 19:18
  3. Romans 13:14 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.

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