October 15, 2018

Pay What Is Owed, Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard

Romans 13:6–7

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For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

In Context:

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Pay What Is Owed, Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard



Bio | David Sargent

Howdy! My name is David Sargent. I'm a child of the King, used by Him (despite myself) for His good pleasure; Kansan by birth, Texan by choice; only child; engineer; and a proud member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie class of 2015 (Gig 'em).

By the grace of God, I have been walking with Him almost my entire life. Still, I learn new things from "old" Scriptures all the time. And today I get the joy of sharing with y'all something that God revealed to me exactly when I needed to hear it.

Central Truth

No authority exists that was not instituted by God. To resist authority is to resist God. Therefore, we must pay what is owed, whether that is tangible, like money, or intangible, like respect. We are not of the world; we are held to a higher standard.

Devotional | Romans 13:6–7

All authority comes from God. That is what this short section of Scripture (Romans 13:1-7) is all about. The first five verses tell us that God established every authority, so to resist that authority is to...

All authority comes from God. That is what this short section of Scripture (Romans 13:1-7) is all about. The first five verses tell us that God established every authority, so to resist that authority is to resist what God has set in place. See Romans 13:1 (emphasis added): "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is NO authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." Good and bad leaders are from God. For followers of Christ, this means that we are commanded to be subject to authority. This could be your boss, pastor, professor, or government. We are commanded to be subject to the authority God has placed over us, even when we don’t like the leader.

Romans 13:6-7 describes one way for us to subject ourselves. You pay to each person what is owed. Yes, part of paying what is owed is paying taxes. Taxes provide the resources necessary so that men and women in government may govern the land. “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.” (Romans 13:6) Without those resources, they cannot perform their function.

But what else does the text say? Revenue, respect, honor—pay all to whom it is owed. Do not steal what should be payed for. Do not disrespect one who is in a position deserving honor. To those in positions of leadership, even those we don’t like, we owe this. Luke 6:32 says, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” If we honor and respect only those leaders we like, then we are no different than the rest of the world. Just in case it hasn’t been said enough already, as followers of Christ we are held to a higher standard.

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Discussion Questions

1. Take some time to think of the leaders in your life. Are there any to whom you could pay more respect? How?

2. Why are we called to respect all authority God has placed over us? How is this consistent with other Scripture?

3. As Christians, how are we called to respond to leaders with whom we do not agree?

2 Comments available

Lindsey Driscoll 31 minutes ago

Great devo David not only addressing money due authorities but honor and respect. Q1/2- I’m reminded today that the leaders placed over me, whom I have different values than, are placed there by the authority of the company I work for. Overall, I respect the company I work for, so why is is hard to respect those in direct authority over me? God desires us to honor and respect authorities (13:7), because that the one in authority is there for my good (13:4). For My good, from the Lord (13:1). Reading down to verse 7 and then back up to verse 1 I see God’s will for myresponse to authorities, and the reason He placed leaders over me in all areas of life, for his glory.

Hugh Stephenson about 3 hours ago

One scholar notes that at no point do we hear Jesus speaking out against the Romans.

In 33 years I have had 15 direct bosses and my 3 employers have had 10 CEO’s. Of these, only one boss was good and only one CEO was good, (by my judgement). I spoke out against them consistently.

For the early part of my business career I was discouraged by this and built up resentments. What I realized a number of years ago was that my calling to serve clients was not dependent on who my bosses were or whether or not they were any good at their job.

I did not live up to God’s command to respect and honor these authorities. When I think of the cruelty and atrocities of the Roman empire Paul’s words gain new meaning for me.

God calls me to die to myself and serve others. Period.

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