Everyone must submit himself 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, he who 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 he will commend you.
For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent 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 because of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
Give everyone what you owe him: 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 he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
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.
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.
It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' "
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.
Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs
so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name."
Again, it says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people."
And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples."
And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done--
by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation.
Rather, as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."
This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.
But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you,
I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there.
For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.
I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.
I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.
Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there,
so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.
The God of peace be with you all. Amen.