George Booker
A New Creation

32. Debts

“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 fellow man has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:6-8).

From duty to authorities (Rom. 13:1-5) Paul passes on to the duty of all men. As tribute and taxes are not to be evaded, so neither are any personal obligations. “Owe no man anything.” Yet there is one debt which can never be discharged. However often it is paid, it still remains payable. It is a permanent obligation. “Owe no man anything, except to love one another.” Love is an unceasing duty, as continuous as the requirements of God’s law. And to love is to keep God’s law, for as Paul points out, one who loves is beyond the possibility of doing the things prohibited by 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’” (v. 9).

Paul, like his Master, resolves all enactments concerning duty to a neighbor into the one duty of love:

“Love does no harm to its neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (v. 10).

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