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Obey Your Government Rulers

13 All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves. People who do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But those who do wrong must fear them. Do you want to be free from fearing them? Then do only what is right, and they will praise you.

Rulers are God’s servants to help you. But if you do wrong, you have reason to be afraid. They have the power to punish, and they will use it. They are God’s servants to punish those who do wrong. So you must obey the government, not just because you might be punished, but because you know it is the right thing to do.

And this is why you pay taxes too. Those rulers are working for God, and they give all their time to the work of ruling. Give everyone what you owe them. If you owe them any kind of tax, then pay it. Show respect to those you should respect. And show honor to those you should honor.

Loving Others Is the Only Law

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. The law says, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder anyone, you must not steal, you must not want what belongs to someone else.”[a] All these commands and all other commands are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor[b] the same as you love yourself.”[c] 10 Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law.

11 I say this because you know that we live in an important time. Yes, it is now time for you to wake up from your sleep. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost finished. The day is almost here. So we should stop doing whatever belongs to darkness. We should prepare ourselves to fight evil with the weapons that belong to the light. 13 We should live in a right way, like people who belong to the day. We should not have wild parties or be drunk. We should not be involved in sexual sin or any kind of immoral behavior. We should not cause arguments and trouble or be jealous. 14 But be like the Lord Jesus Christ, so that when people see what you do, they will see Christ. Don’t think about how to satisfy the desires of your sinful self.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 13:9 Quote from Ex. 20:13-15, 17.
  2. Romans 13:9 your neighbor Or “others.” Jesus’ teaching in Lk. 10:25-37 makes clear that this includes anyone in need.
  3. Romans 13:9 Quote from Lev. 19:18.

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