Submission to Civil Government
13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment,1 and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 13:2 So the person who resists such authority2 resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 13:3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. 13:5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities3 but also because of your conscience.4 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities5 are God’s servants devoted to governing.6 13:7 Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.
Exhortation to Love Neighbors
13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 13:9 For the commandments,7 “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,”8 (and if there is any other commandment) are summed up in this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”9 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Motivation to Godly Conduct
13:11 And do this10 because we know11 the time, that it is already the hour for us to awake from sleep, for our salvation is now nearer than when we became believers. 13:12 The night has advanced toward dawn; the day is near. So then we must lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the weapons of light. 13:13 Let us live decently as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in discord and jealousy. 13:14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to arouse its desires.12