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Everyone should obey people in positions of authority. After all, all authority comes from God, so all the authority figures running around out there must have been hand-picked by God. Makes sense… sort of.
That means if you go against someone in a position of authority, then you're really going against God. Remember that next time you throw paper airplanes at your Spanish teacher.
Basically, Paul says, if you just keep walking the straight and narrow and don't step out of line you should be fine. If you do, don't forget, those authority figures have swords and they're not afraid to wield them.
(Ironic historical footnote: about 10 years after writing this, Paul was executed by the Roman authorities. Wonder if that might make him revise his thoughts in this section just a little?)
Same thing goes for paying taxes. Sorry, Tea Party and Henry David Thoreau—you've got to pay them. If you owe money to the government, fork it over. And if you owe respect and honor to people in positions of power, then start practicing your groveling now. Yup.
Don't walk around owing anyone anything. Period. Oh, except love. You should owe everyone love all the time. And pay it as often as possible. That's the essence of all of Jewish law anyway—love.
Paul thinks the Ten Commandments can pretty much be boiled down to "Love your neighbor as yourself." It's really pretty simple, guys.
Besides, Paul tells the Romans, they know what time it is. Morphin time?
The hour is at hand. Salvation is coming soon to a theater near you. Any minute now, Jesus is gonna come down from Heaven again and make some non-believers feel pretty darn foolish. Yup. He's talking about the second coming, folks.
So let's all just be good little boys and girls so we can always be prepared for this. Basically just keep focused on Christ and do what's good all the time. Easy, right?