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Romans 13

Obey the government

1 Everyone must obey the authority of the government. It is God who gives the authority to rule. The people who rule have received their authority from God. 2 So, anyone who refuses to obey that authority is refusing to obey God. That person will receive the proper punishment.

3 People who do good things do not need to be afraid of the rulers. Only people who do bad things should be afraid of the rulers. Do you want to live and not be afraid of the rulers? Then you must do good things and they will respect you. 4 Rulers are God's servants. They help you to do good things. But if you do bad things, then you should be afraid of them. They really do have authority to punish people. On God's behalf they punish people who do bad things. 5 So, you must obey those people who rule. You must obey them not only so that they do not punish you. But you must obey them also because it is right to obey them. And you yourselves know that it is right.

6 This is also the reason why you pay taxes to the government. You should pay them, because the officers are God's servants. They are doing the work that God has given to them. 7 So, you must give to each person what you ought to give them. Pay taxes to the people who receive taxes. Do that for every kind of tax. Respect those people that you should respect. Praise people that you should praise.

Christians must love other people

8 Always pay your debts to people. The only debt that you should have is to love each other. Anyone who loves other people has obeyed God's Law completely.

9 The rules in God's Law say this: ‘Do not have sex with anyone who is not your own wife or your own husband. Do not kill anyone. Do not rob anyone. Do not want things that belong to other people.’ All these rules, and all the other rules in God's Law, are all included in one rule. That one rule is: ‘Love other people as much as you love yourself.’ 10 If you love other people, you will never do anything bad to them. So, anyone who loves other people has obeyed God's Law completely.

11 Live in that way, because you know what is happening in this time now. It is time that you should stop sleeping. It is now time to wake up. The time when God will save us completely is near. That time is nearer now than when we first believed in him. 12 The night has nearly finished and the day is almost here. So, we must stop doing the bad things that belong to the dark. Instead, we must take weapons like soldiers who are ready to fight in the light.

13 We should live in a good way, because we live in the light of day. We should not go to wild parties. We must not be drunks. We must not have sex with anyone who is not our own wife or husband. We must not do wrong things with our bodies. We must not quarrel. We must not be jealous of other people. 14 Instead, you must live with the Lord Jesus Christ as your guide. Do not even think about the bad things that you may want to do to make yourself happy.

13:14Christians need to ‘put on’ Jesus Christ, as someone puts on clothes. That means that we need to keep near to him so that he can lead us. He will give us the power to win against bad things. See Galatians 3:27.