This is the thirteenth installment of what I hope to be a complete “translation” of Romans. Please note that this is not scripture; it is my understanding of scripture. Any with questions or concerns should check the original.
Thirtenth chapter of Romans
Everyone should obey the government, because all authority ultimately comes from God. (See footnote)
Therefore, rebelling against authority is rebelling against what God has set up. Those who rebel will be subject to punishment. People who do what is right do not fear legitimate rulers – but those who do wrong, do.
Do you want to be free from fear of the one who is in charge? Then do what is right – and he will compliment you, because he is God’s servant to do good.
But if you do what is wrong, be afraid! He does not have power for nothing. He is God’s servant, who will angrily punish those who do wrong.
So obey the government, both because you will be punished if you don’t, and in order to have a clear conscience. This is also why you should pay taxes, because the authorities are God’s servants, and they give all their time to governing.
Pay everyone what you owe him: if taxes, taxes; if income, income, if respect, respect; if honor, then honor. Pay all debts promptly, including the ongoing debt to love each other … for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
In fact, the commandments of the law (do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not desire another’s property, and whatever other commandments there might be) are all summarized in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to anyone, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Be aware of the present time, and do as I say: the hour has come to wake up from sleep – our salvation is nearer now than we thought before! The night is nearly over, the morning is almost here!
So: let us stop doing things we know are wrong. Instead, let’s put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime.
We should not participate in partying and drinking too much, not in sexual immorality and orgies, nor in fighting and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and forget about indulging the desires of our old, sinful nature.
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Footnote about government and authority
If you are not a Christian, or a novice Christian, please be aware that the Bible does not teach that all governments should be obeyed in all things. A common Biblical principle is that scripture should be interpreted in the light of all scripture, and the Bible does command people to obey God rather than man. Hence the prototypical example of Christians in conquered WWII Europe disobeying the Nazis and hiding Jews – against the will of the “government” – but in alignment with the will of God.
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