Live at Peace With the Governing Authorities
(1) Let everyone be subject to (live at peace with) the authorities that govern society, for there is no authority that exists except that which God has established (ordained, instituted). The governing authorities that exist have been established by God.
(2) Therefore, whoever (violently) rebels against governing authorities is rebelling against what God has established, and those who do rebel will bring judgment (punishment) on themselves. (3) For governing rulers are not a threat to those who do what is right, but to those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fearing governing authorities? Then do what is right and you will receive approval. (4) For the one in governing authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, you should be afraid, for governing rulers do not have the right to punish (bear the sword) for no reason. For they are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment to those who do what is wrong. (5) Therefore, it is necessary to submit (live at peace) to the governing authorities, not only to avoid punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (6) This is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are God’s servants, who work full-time at governing society. (7) Give to everyone what you owe them: if you owe taxes, then pay taxes; if you owe money, then pay them the money; if respect, then give them respect; if honor, then give them honor.
Love Fulfills the Law of Moses
(8) Do not be in debt to anyone, except the ongoing debt to love one another, for when we love others we fulfill the law of Moses. (9) The commandments, “You must not commit adultery,” “You must not murder,” “You must not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and all the others are summed up in this one command of Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (10) Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, love fulfills the teaching of the whole law of Moses.
God’s Final Salvation
(11) And act in love, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your spiritual sleep, because our final salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (12) The night’s darkness is nearly over, and the day’s light is almost here.
So let us throw off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (13) Let us live a moral life, as in the light of day, not in carousing (reckless roaming) and drunkenness, not engaged in sexual perversion and moral corruption, not in dissension (conflict, divisions) and jealousy.
(14) Rather, clothe (cover) yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how you can gratify the passions of your sinful nature (flesh).