Paul begins Romans Chapter 13 by addressing the issue of submitting yourselves to government rulers. He said that believers in Christ should follow the rules set forth by their government while remembering that God is the true authority and, as such, has established these governing bodies.
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Rebelling Against the Government
Because God put these governing bodies in place, Paul said that the people who rebel against the government are actually rebelling against God. This would cause them to be judged. He went on to say that rulers treat people who behave properly well, but they punish those who behave rebelliously.
Paul explained that those in authority are serving God to help you. Therefore, if you behave badly, you should be afraid. He told people to remember that rulers have the power to hurt you. As the servants of God, they can mete out God’s wrath on you. That is why Paul said that believers should always strive to do right and enjoy the clear conscience that it brings.
Paul Addresses Paying Taxes
Paul also said that followers of Christ should pay their taxes. Since the people in authority are serving God, the taxes that you pay are actually paying God. If you owe someone money, whether it is taxes or money for services, Paul said to pay it. He also said that if you owe someone respect and honor, you should show it.
The Debt of Love
According to Paul in Romans Chapter 13, the only debt you should have is a debt of love to your fellow brothers and sisters. If you love one another, he said, you are fulfilling the law.
Even though there are 10 commandments, Paul said that they all came down to one: You should love others as you wish to be loved. When you love others, you do no harm and you fulfill the law.
Judgment Day Is Coming
Paul concludes Romans Chapter 13 by discussing the day of God’s judgment. He said that nobody should be stubborn about changing their ways and doing what is right because judgment day is close at hand. Paul urged believers to refrain from behaving badly by indulging in drink, debauchery and immoral behavior. He said to forget your own and focus your thoughts and hopes on Christ the Lord.
Romans 13 (King James Version)
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.