Obey Those in Authority
1All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. 2So whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged. 3If you do what is right, you won’t need to be afraid of your rulers. But watch out if you do what is wrong! You don’t want to be afraid of those in authority, do you? Then do what is right, and you will be praised. 4The one in authority serves God for your good. But if you do wrong, watch out! Rulers don’t carry a sword for no reason at all. They serve God. And God is carrying out his anger through them. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. 5You must obey the authorities. Then you will not be punished. You must also obey them because you know it is right.
6That’s also why you pay taxes. The authorities serve God. Ruling takes up all their time. 7Give to everyone what you owe them. Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it.
Love Fulfills the Law
8Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe one another. Whoever loves other people has done everything the law requires. 9Here are some commandments to think about. “Do not commit adultery.” “Do not commit murder.” “Do not steal.” “Do not want what belongs to others.” (Exodus 20:13–15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17–19,21) These and all other commands are included in one command. Here’s what it is. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) 10Love does not harm its neighbor. So love does everything the law requires.
The Day Is Near
11When you do these things, keep in mind the times we are living in. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. The full effects of our salvation are closer now than when we first believed in Christ. 12The dark night of evil is nearly over. The day of Christ’s return is almost here. So let us get rid of the works of darkness that harm us. Let us do the works of light that protect us. 13Let us act as we should, like people living in the daytime. Have nothing to do with wild parties, and don’t get drunk. Don’t take part in sexual sins or evil conduct. Don’t fight with each other or be jealous of anyone. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ as if he were your clothing. Don’t think about how to satisfy sinful desires.