Romans 13:1–14 (NKJV)
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.Romans 13:1-7
In this passage, Paul abruptly instructs all those who would read the epistle to obey governing authorities, for they are placed by God Himself for our good. If one obeys the laws and does good, they will be rewarded. However, if one resists the law and behaves contrary to it, they will be punished. Kings, Presidents, Governors, etc., are God’s ministers for good. Pay your taxes, offer respect, and honor the governing authorities. This is God’s will. Obviously, there are times when oppressive regimes rule against the will and nature of God. However, the Christian’s responsibility to God is to obey the law to the best of his or her ability and strength. When Christians are good citizens, they can change the culture around them through prayer and respectful Christian political action. Move the meter through responsible Christian living and example, but whatever you do, be a lawful citizen.
8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.Romans 13:8-10
Paul then moves to a discussion of right relationship with others, beginning with an admonition to love one another, which sums up all the last six commandments of the decalogue (Ten Commandments) which pertain to our relationship with other people. Do no harm to your neighbor, but rather love them. This is the basic requirement of our commitment in relationship to others. Love one another as God has loved you.
11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.Romans 13:11-14
The final admonition of this passage relates to one’s personal commitment to God. It is time to wake up! It is time to see the true condition of the world and one’s heart as they walk in it. Time is too short for individuals to ignore the condition of one’s soul. Cast of the dark, and put on the armor of light. Walk not in sinful ways, but rather put on Christ! The flesh cannot rule if we are to truly fulfill the will of God for our lives. Be aware! Be strong! Be Godly! There is no time to be careless. Be aware and know where you are at all times, and live holy.
Artwork from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/427771664578956095/