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Romans  ◦   Chapter 13

1Everyone must obey–and not rebel against–the governing authorities, as they govern to bring order to society. All true authority comes from God, and the current authorities hold power in harmony with God's plan.2So, if you rebel against the Roman government and choose insurrection, you are not practicing God's methods but actually misrepresenting God and interfering with his plan. Those who rebel will condemn themselves,3for there is no reason to fear the one in authority if you do what is right; you only need to fear if you are doing what is wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the ruler? Then do what is right and those in authority will reward you,4For they are God’s servants to do you good. But if you do wrong, fear the consequences, for the power to punish, which they have, is not for nothing. They are God’s servants — agents of discipline — to bring consequences on the wrongdoer, and hopefully to awaken the wrongdoer to a better course.5Therefore, it is important to obey the authorities that are part of God's plan — not merely because of fear of punishment, but because it is the right thing to do.

6This is exactly the same reason for which you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants to provide order, safety, security, economy, emergency services, courts of justice, utilities, and so forth.7Be sure to give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay the taxes you owe; if revenue, then the revenue you owe; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

8Don't remain in debt of any kind, except the debt to love one another, for the one who loves their fellow humans has fulfilled all that the law requires, for the law is simply about love.9The commandments are a diagnostic tool to reveal where love has broken down: for when you love you, "do not commit adultery," and you "do not murder," and you "do not steal," and you "do not covet." For all ten commandments are summed up in this one principle: "Love! Love the Lord most of all, and your neighbor as yourself."10Love is the principle of beneficence and does no harm, but does only what is in the best interest of another, therefore love is the law upon which life is based.

11And do this (love one another) understanding the time in which we live. The time has come for you to wake up and realize that our deliverance from this world of sin is nearer now than when we first came to trust God.12The night of darkness and separation from God is nearly over; the day of his coming is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness, the deeds that misrepresent God and separate us from him, and put on the armor of light–the character of Christ and the truth about God.13Let us live righteously, as in the light of God's truth, and not in the darkness of orgies, drugs and drunkenness; not in pornography and debauchery; not in envy, rumor-mongering and jealousy.14Rather, clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ–develop your character to be just like his in all you do, and choose to say No to the desires of the selfish nature.