This is a difficult chapter for the Romans. They were serving an Emperor that ruled most of the known world. The authorities were not fans of the Jews nor the Christians. Rome saw them as ones that caused trouble or at least drama. Still, Paul speaks some pretty hard truth. Paul’s bottom line was to simply do the right thing for the right reasons and the authorities will leave you alone. Pay your taxes, pay your bills and do not badmouth those that are doing their jobs to protect and to serve.
We live in a time when we are watching authorities at every level being questioned. the result is chaos. Teachers are leaving the profession because of death threats from their 3rd graders. Cities are defunding law enforcement and in the same breath crying for protection. The world is on the fringe of war because of the dictates of world leaders that refuse to act like human beings against the calls of their international partners.
The Church is trying to meet the needs of the communities. The church is preaching to the most real issues. Marriage, politics, sexual sin and greed. The world gone mad can only be restored to order when those in it begin to focus upon others and not upon themselves. Paul is telling the Romans and us…be selfless, do the right things, lose yourself in the care of others and then you will know peace and the absence of fear.
Paul ends it well, Owe no one anything but a debt of love, because loving God and loving others is the fulfillment of the Law!
God Bless You
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Love Fulfills the Law
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.