Obey Those in Authority
1All of you must be willing to obey completely 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 when you oppose the authorities, you are opposing those 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. The one in authority will praise you. 4He serves God and will do you good. But if you do wrong, watch out! The ruler doesn't carry a sword for no reason at all. He serves God. And God is carrying out his anger through him. 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. 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, Because the Day Is Near
8Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe each other. Those who love others have 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 other commandments are all included in one rule. 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.
11When you do those things, keep in mind the times we are living in. The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep. Our full salvation is closer now than it was 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. Let us put on the armor of light.
13Let us act as we should, like people living in the daytime. Have nothing to do with wild parties. Don't get drunk. Don't take part in sexual sins or evil conduct. Don't fight with each other. Don't be jealous of anyone.
14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ as your clothing. Don't think about how to satisfy what your sinful nature wants.