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Today’s scripture reading is Romans chapter 13.  Verses 6-8 stood out to me this morning as I read.  Throughout scripture there are warnings about being in debt. A portion of Romans 13 focuses on the concept of debt, but it takes it a step further than simply owing money to someone.  Verse 7 clearly states that if you owe someone something… you need to pay up!

Romans 13: Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

The last part of this verse can be the difficult part to apply in our daily lives.  Paul tells us that if we owe taxes or money to someone, we need to pay up.  But, he mentions both monetary debt and relational debt.  He says that we should give people what we owe them- It might not be money, it might be that we owe someone respect and honor.  These verses challenge us today to think through how we treat those around us.  If we owe someone respect and honor, we need to pay up.  I know that monetary debt is not always easy to pay off, but we force ourselves to do it.  Similarly, owing someone respect and honor is not always easy, but it is required.

Is there someone in your life whom you need to show proper respect and honor, if so, stop justifying wrong behavior and start exemplifying the behavior of respect and love for others that God desires.

Verse 8 concludes this portion of scripture perfectly:  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

Don’t miss reading Romans 13 today- What portion impacted you the most?

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What did I learn from the passage that I didn’t know before?

What did the passage mean to those first century readers?

What does the passage mean to me?

What verse really stuck out to me?

What changes do I need to make in my life?

What verse gives me comfort or wisdom in my trials and difficulties?

What is God’s will for my life?

Is there a verse that I would like to memorize?

 

Romans 13 (New International Version)

Submission to Governing Authorities

1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Day Is Near

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. 5:17-19,21
  2. Romans 13:9 Lev. 19:18
  3. Romans 13:14 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.