"For for this cause pay ye
tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually
upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute
to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear;
honour to whom honour."
As we look at these two verses we
first notice the definitions of the terms:
1. "tribute" – a
tax or assessment on persons or property.
2. "dues" –
indebtness or a sum owed.
3. "custom" – a
4. "fear" –
alarm or fright or terror
5. "honor" –
The Lord said in Matt. 10:10 "Nor
scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet
staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat." Again we read in 1
Cor. 9:7 "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who
planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who
feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I
these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it
is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of
the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10
Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt,
this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that
he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope."
There is a labor involved in
authority. The person in authority is responsible for that which he
is authorized. Often there is much labor and time involved in
exercising that authority. As the Lord said, "the workman is worthy
of his meat." While 1 Cor. chapter 9 is dealing primarily with the
gospel ministers, yet a general principle is set forth for us that
others must help bear the cost of those in authority.
In order that we may have civil
government that is essential to a civilized society, there is a need
for tribute. We as citizens of that civil government are
responsible for paying our share of that tribute that we may have a
civilized society of laws and rules that protect us and make our
lives more bearable.
Also, we must pay a levy to have
good teachers to teach our children or to train us as adults to the
work that we dedicate ourselves. Likewise, we pay a levy for
policemen and others who protect us in society or who go to war to
preserve our freedoms.
We should fear those who are the
leaders of our nation and who judge us in society that we behave
ourselves as good citizens.
We as children should give honor to
our fathers and mothers. Likewise, the church members should honor
those who labor among them in the gospel field.
There are many more applications we
could properly make, but we see that we are duty bound to render to
the dues of those in authority.
8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth
another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit
adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not
bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other
commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his
neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
The use of the word, "owe," does not
mean that we are never to have any financial debt to anyone. It
means that morally indebted to anyone except to owe them love. Our
love to our fellow man is based on the debt of love we owe the
Lord. We love the Lord because he first loved us. Because of the
Lord's love for us, we owe a debt of gratitude to our Lord. Yet, we
pay this debt by manifesting love one to another. The Lord said,
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me."
The Lord has also given us the
proper avenue of our love. We are to love our neighbor. We are to
love the brethren. We are to love our family members. We are to
love our enemies. Above all, we are to love the Lord with all our
heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our
Not only are we paying that debt of
gratitude to the Lord by loving one another, we also are fulfilling
God's moral laws by loving one another: "for he that loveth another
hath fulfilled the law.
God's moral law gives us what we are
not to do: "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt
not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly
comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour
Love by its very nature fulfills the
moral law of God: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore
love is the fulfilling of the law." If we love our neighbor we will
not commit adultery against him, we will not kill him, we will not
steal from him, we will not bear false witness against him, and we
will not covet what he has. Therefore, love fulfills the moral law
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out
of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast
off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But
put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the
flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."
This section of scripture began with
the beginning of Romans chapter 12 where Paul exhorted us to
"present our bodies a living sacrifice." Throughout the first 11
chapters, Paul had warned us several times about the false teachings
of a works system of salvation. We need to be aware of our
surrounding circumstances and not be asleep to the things going on
around us. We should know the time and subsequently the
circumstances in which we dwell. Not to know the time or
circumstances is like being asleep to what is going on and to our
duties and responsibilities.
"Now it is high time to awake out of
sleep." Sleep may be good for rest, but when danger is about us, we
need to be awake and conscience of what is going on and be prepared
to act. 1 Cor 15:34 "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some
have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." Eph
5:14 "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from
the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." We need to awake to
righteousness and live uprightly among this sinful world. We also
need to awake to the light that Christ gives us that we may be able
to stand up and oppose the dangers about us.
"For now is
our salvation nearer than when we believed."
The salvation under consideration is
a timely salvation. The use of the word, "now," causes us to
realize that it is not eternal salvation, but salvation from an
untoward generation that we are to awake to. We have a timely
salvation from the trying circumstances and dangers of false
religion and false practices and ungodly living. It is a now
salvation. We do not have to wait for this salvation. We will have
to wait to the resurrection to see the fullness of our eternal
salvation. However, our timely salvation is ever before us.
"The night is far spent, the day is
at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us
put on the armour of light." The night is the time we dwelt in
darkness without the true gospel of Jesus Christ. We need no longer
dwell in the darkness as we have the light of the gospel and the
light of the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide us. The day of
knowledge and understand of the precious truths of God's word is at
hand. Because of this we need to cast off the works of darkness.
The works of darkness are our fleshly works.
All of the works of the flesh are
sinful which are recorded for us in Gal. 5:19-21: "Now the works of
the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance,
emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders,
drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you
before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do
such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." We are told to
mortify the works of the flesh and to cast off the works of
darkness. False doctrines, false practices, and false religious
systems are also works of darkness that we are to cast off.
We are to put on the armour of
light. In Ephesians chapter six, Paul exhorts us to put on the
whole armour of God. He lists this armour as having our loins girt
about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, having
our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, having on
the helmet of salvation, taking the shield of faith, and having the
sword of the Spirit, and praying with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit. This is the armour of light of the knowledge of God's
word that we are to put on.
"Let us walk honestly, as in the
day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and
wantonness, not in strife and envying." Our walk is the way that we
live our lives. We are to live our lives in an honest or decent
manner. We are to walk according to the knowledge or light of God's
word. This is walking in the day. Rioting and drunkenness,
chambering and wantonness, strife and envying are things that are
often associated with the night. Those are works of the flesh. We
no longer as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are to fulfill the
fleshly lusts, but are to present our bodies a living sacrifice. We
are to put away or mortify the deeds of the flesh and bring our
bodies into subjection. We are to transform our lives to a godly
"But put ye on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts
thereof." To put on the Lord Jesus Christ is to become Christ like
in our walk of discipleship. We should ever be striving to gain the
knowledge of God's word that we may be more Christ like in our
actions of living. We should also cease to make provisions to
fulfill the fleshly lusts. In this way we give praise, honor and
glory to God for his amazing grace towards us.