Romans Chapter 13

 

Render therefore to all their dues:

Verses 6,7  "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 paid levy

                   4.  "fear" alarm or fright or terror

                   5.  "honor" high esteem 

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. 

Verses 8-10 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 mind. 

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 as thyself."  

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 of God.

Verses 11-14  "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 walk. 

"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.