Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 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.
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.
11 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.
Paul begins with clarifying the relationship of the Christian to civil authority. We are to be subject to the higher powers, but the highest power is God. He has given authority to the civil leaders. So there should be no need to fear if one keeps the law of God and the laws of the land.
Paul tells us that our lives should be an open book. We should live honestly with nothing to hide. We should not be engaged in disorderly behavior or in drunkenness (v. 13). And in a spiritual sense, Seventh-day Adventists should not be drinking from the wine (false doctrines) of Babylon. Most of the world is drunk with the wine from her spiritual adultery. We should be spiritually pure and sober, faithful to the message God has given us as a people. Paul closes by saying that what we really need is to put on Jesus Christ and His righteousness. As we do so, we will not focus on the flesh, walk according to the old man of sin as seen in Romans 7, but with the help of Christ have a transformed mind that prepares us to face the final crisis.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA