Long ago my wife decided that driving within the speed limit gives her a wonderful sense of freedom. She tells me, “I don’t ever need a radar detector. And I never have to slow down when I see a state patrol car or worry about paying a fine for speeding.” Even on long trips when the miles seem to grind slowly along, she sets the cruise control at the posted speed limit and enjoys the journey. “Besides,” she reminds me, “it is the law.”

Romans 13:1-10 addresses our responsibility to the authority of human government and to the law of God. When we obey the governing authorities, we don’t have to fear punishment, and we gain a clear conscience by doing what is right (vv.3,5).

Paul urged the followers of Christ in Rome to give the governing authorities what was owed them, whether taxes, revenue, respect, or honor (v.7). But he went beyond human regulations when he wrote: “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (v.8).

It is our duty to obey man’s law and our privilege to fulfill God’s law by loving others. And His law is “the perfect law that gives freedom” (James 1:25 NIV).