1 Every person must be submissive to the ruling authorities, for all authorities come from God. And the existence of authorities has been established by God. 2 Therefore, the person who resists [these] authorities is opposing what God has ordained. And those who oppose [these authorities] will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For [our] rulers are not a threat to [the person doing] a good deed, but to [the person doing] an evil one. So, do you want to avoid having to be afraid of the authorities? Then do what is good and you will be commended by them [generally]. 4 For they are servants of God for your good. But you should be afraid if you do what is evil, because they do not carry the sword [i.e., for executing criminals] for nothing. For they are servants of God who take revenge [on wrongdoing] by punishing the person who does evil. 5 Therefore, you must submit [to the authorities], not only because of [the threat of] punishment, but also for the sake of [your] conscience. 6 This is the reason why you should pay taxes also. For the authorities are God's servants who continually tend to this matter [i.e., of collecting taxes]. 7 [So], pay everyone what you owe them; pay taxes to the tax collector; pay revenue to the revenue collector; show respect to the one deserving it; give honor to the one deserving it.
8 Do not owe anything to anyone, except to love one another. For the person who loves others has fulfilled [the requirements of] the law. 9 For [the commandments are: Ex. 20:13ff], "You must not be sexually unfaithful to your mate. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not have a strong desire for what belongs to someone else." These and any other commandments are summed up in these words, "You must love your neighbor the same as you love yourself."
10 If you love your neighbor, you will not do anything wrong to him. So, to love people is the way to fulfill [the requirements of] the law [See Matt. 22:39].
11 Now this [is another reason for observing the law of love]: You should know that it is about time to wake up out of your [spiritual] sleep, because [the day of our final] salvation is now nearer to us than when we first believed [in Christ]. 12 The night is almost over and the day is near. So, we should stop doing the deeds of darkness [i.e., sinful things] and we should arm ourselves with the weapons of light [i.e., virtues for right living]. 13 We should be living properly, as in the daytime [i.e., when people normally behave themselves], not engaging in orgies and drunkenness; not practicing sexual immorality and indecent vices; not quarrelsome and jealous. 14 But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not make any plans for satisfying the strong desires of your flesh [i.e., your appetites for sinful pleasures].