Everyone needs to obey the governing authorities, for those in authority are only there because God has permitted them to be there. If anyone rebels against the authorities, he’s rebelling against what God has allowed. And a rebel’s certain to be punished. But the authorities hold no fear for those who do what’s right – only for those who do wrong.
Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Then do what’s right and you’ll be commended, because the authorities are God’s agents for your good. But if you do wrong, you should be afraid, because they’ve been given the power to punish. As I just said, they’re God’s agents, appointed to discipline law-breakers. Obey them, therefore, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
You need to pay your taxes, too, for the very same reasons. The governing authorities are God’s agents and devote all their time to administration. Give everyone, therefore, what you owe them: pay tax to whom tax is due; pay fees to whom fees are due; pay respect to whom respect is due; pay honour to whom honour is due.
Don’t get into debt – except the debt we have to love one another. If you love your neighbour, you’ve fulfilled the law. The commandments: don’t commit adultery; don’t commit murder; don’t steal; don’t envy – and every other commandment – are summed up by this single commandment: love your neighbour as yourself.
Love does no harm to a neighbour, so love fulfils the law.
And it’s all the more important because of the present time. Indeed, it’s already time for you to wake up, because our rescue is nearer now than when we first believed. Night’s nearly passed – day will soon be here, so thrust aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let’s behave well, because dawn is coming. Don’t get involved with wild parties and drunkenness, or sexual sin and immorality, or quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and don’t even consider how to indulge the flesh.