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At the time, Christians are a tiny minority within Judaism, a minor religion in the largest empire the world has ever seen. Minorities are often the subjects of rumors, suspicions, and innuendos. Christians don’t need to add to the problem by developing a reputation as lawbreakers and rebels. So Kingdom citizens are not to dodge taxes or cheat on fees imposed by legitimate governing authorities. They are to show the proper respect for officials in power. Ultimately those who follow the truth of the gospel under the banner of the Anointed One may find themselves at odds with the powers that be. But Paul’s counsel here is not a blanket approval of any and every government that may arise in a broken world.

So submission is not optional; it’s required. But don’t just submit for the sake of avoiding punishment; submit and abide by the laws because your conscience leads you to do the right thing. Pay your taxes for the same reason because the authorities are servants of God, giving their full attention to take care of these things. Pay all of them what you owe. If you owe taxes, then pay. If you owe fees, then pay. In the same way, give honor and respect to those who deserve it.

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