The Debt of Love
WE ARE TO PAY OUR DEBTS…
”Give to everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:7
For all our complaints against our Government, and there are plenty of reasons, from both sides of the aisle, we still have it pretty good in America. This is especially true if we compare our current governing body to that of Paul's. His emperor was Nero, one of the most evil dictators in human history. So if Paul is instructing us to pay our taxes, revenue, respect and honor, and it was to Nero, he had a stronger argument against doing such things than we do. Regardless of our political persuasions, opinions and feelings, we are to live in civil obedience, giving respect to our leaders. By doing so, we show great trust in the Lord.
…BUT, WE’RE FOREVER INDEBTED…
”Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
There is great freedom to being debt free - to owe nothing. But Biblically, this is impossible, because we will always owe a debt of thanks to God, and the debt of love to all people (even those we do not politically agree with or particularly like). The reason love is a continuing debt is twofold: First, Jesus declared love to be a new command (John 13:34), and it has not been revoked; secondly, it is continuing because God’s Word is eternal. That love fulfills the law, comes from Jesus (Matthew 22:37-40) about the greatest commandments (love God with all of your self, and then love your neighbor as yourself).
”Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10
…AND ESPECIALLY GIVEN NOW.
”And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11
We’re to love, because of the present time - days of hate. Love separates us from everyone else in the world and is a great testimony of our faith. Jesus said in John 13:35, ‘Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.’ Love is our greatest witness for Christ.