The Responsible and Trustworthy Steward
Stewardship involves managing what someone else owns. A steward is like the trustee of a fund or organization: others trust him or her to wisely manage assets on their behalf. Because God bought us with the blood of His Son, all that we are and have—including our lives and possessions—belong to Him. As those who are accountable to God, we must become responsible and trustworthy stewards of the time, physical bodies, money and possessions, gifts, and relationships God has given us.
God is the Source of Everything
An especially important principle to see is that God has been the source of everything from the very beginning (Genesis 1).
1 Corinthians 4:7 makes it clear that everything that we have has been given to us. Nothing originated in and of ourselves apart from God. An attitude of grateful humility is important to cultivate so that we will not exalt ourselves.
God is the Greatest Giver
Genesis 1 is also the beginning of God’s giving and man’s stewardship. After He created man, the first command He gave to man involved stewardship of the very things God had just created!
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17 NIV
The same principle applies to us today.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NASB95
When you start to take hold of seeing and understanding that God provides everything and you are a steward of what belongs to Him, life will become different in many ways!
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17 NASB95
God Has Given You a Sacred Trust
1 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 NASB95
Servants of Christ (that means us) have a responsibility to Christ. The Greek word for servants used in verse 1 (hyperētas) emphasizes subordination and responsibility to a superior. Servants of Christ must also be found trustworthy. Trustworthiness is a requirement, not an option.
Jesus told His disciples, “…freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8b). We have the opportunity to pass on the blessings we receive from the Lord.
As the Lord transforms you, He opens new doors. God works through you to bless others. Sharing with others should be an overflow of spiritual transformation and is aided by personal Bible study. When you share, you will often find that it energizes your own life even more. God not only gives you gifts but also reveals new truths to you so others can benefit too. The Holy Spirit will frequently use your obedience to God and His Word, your increasing maturity, your words, and your actions to significantly influence other followers of Jesus. Your life can become an attractive fragrance to awaken an unbeliever to his need for Jesus Christ.
We Are Accountable to God
Because we are accountable to God, we must learn to become responsible and excellent stewards of the time, physical and spiritual gifts, physical body, wealth, work, and relationships God has given us.
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 NIV
We Must Be Found Trustworthy by God
What we do with what God has given us determines whether we are faithful or not.
Read Matthew 25:14-30.
What is the basis on which servants are found faithful? The servant’s caring for what the master gave each of them.
How were the faithful servants rewarded for their faithfulness with the master’s talents? The master gave them additional wealth, additional responsibilities, and they shared in the master’s joy.
10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? >12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-12 NASB95
Stewardship Requires Obedience
Is your heart’s desire to be a useful instrument in God’s hand? To be a vessel through which His power flows? To bless others and to be blessed? The Bible is full of examples of stewardship working hand in hand with obedience.
Every man, woman, and child has been entrusted with 168 hours each week. Are you investing the time God has given you wisely, or are you spending it foolishly? A good investment can produce a good return. How you use your time indicates what you really value.
There is Only One First
25 Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life? 28 And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. 29 Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry and be anxious, saying, What are we going to have to eat? or, What are we going to have to drink? or, What are we going to have to wear? 32 For the Gentiles (heathen) wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows well that you need them all. 33 But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. 34 So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34 AMPC
The Lord Jesus said to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. What do you think is meant by the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God?
Family, Then God’s Church
4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 1 Timothy 3:4-5 NLT
7 For you yourselves know how you should imitate us: We were not idle among you; 8 we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 CSB
Working to obtain the provisions you and your family need sets an important example for others to learn from and to follow. If you don’t work, you and your family don’t eat. God has not called us to live an idle life and to mind everyone else’s business but our own. Working is also a means of obtaining provisions for others in need.
An Honest Assessment of Your Priorities
Use the table below to number the items in order of priority as they currently exist in your life. Then number them again according to what you think are God’s priorities for your life in Christ.
|Job (your profession or occupation)
|God (developing your relationship with Him)
|School (your educational development)
|Family (your loving care and instruction of them)
|Ministry (your personal outreach and witness)
|Dating or marriage
|Management of property and wealth
|Serving the poor
|Other (personal emphasis—social activities, hobbies, entertainment)
After considering God’s priorities, you may want to make changes in your weekly schedule so that what you do coincides with God’s priorities for your life. Is there any change in your weekly schedule that you believe you should make? You should continually pray over and assess how you invest your time.
15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), 16 Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit. 19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord, 20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Ephesians 5:15-21 AMPC
Here are some considerations for how to make wise use of the time God has given you:
- Prayerful planning: Listen to God. List things to be done in order of priority.
- Obedient selection: Respond to God’s leading by doing the most important tasks first. In faith, commit unfinished ones to the Lord.
- Concentration and diligence: Do the task you select wholeheartedly.
Money and Possessions
Serve God or Serve Money
24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in). Matthew 6:24 AMPC
Jesus gave us a clear choice: We can either serve God, or we can serve money.
To counter the temptation to serve money, Jesus called His followers to give money primarily as an act of worship to God and secondarily as a service to people. Our alternative is to give up worship of God in order to serve money.
We cannot serve both God and money.
Why do you think serving money is in opposition to serving God?
Whether a person has lots of money or very little, in what ways can the person serve money? How can a person stop serving money?
9 Honor the LORD from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 NASB95
What Happens When Someone Loves Money
Why is it important to have the proper attitude toward money?
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:10 NASB95
A Few of the Things the Bible Says About Money
Do Not Cheat Others
10 Diverse weights [one for buying and another for selling] and diverse measures—both of them are exceedingly offensive and abhorrent to the Lord. Proverbs 20:10 AMPC
Do Not Steal
28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. Ephesians 4:28 AMPC
The Danger of Borrowing Money and Going Into Debt
7 Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 (NLT)
8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8 NASB95
8 Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements]. Romans 13:8 AMPC
15 And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man’s life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs. Luke 12:15 AMPC
15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed, because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 (CSB)
Earn God’s Trust By the Way You Handle Money
10 He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not proved faithful in that which belongs to another [whether God or man], who will give you that which is your own [that is, the true riches]? Luke 16:10-12 AMPC
Some of the Biblical Principles of Giving From 2 Corinthians 9
Sparing or Generous Sowing and Reaping
6 [Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. 2 Corinthians 9:6 AMPC
Do Not Give Reluctantly or Sorrowfully or Grudgingly
7 Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, “prompt to do it” ) giver [whose heart is in his giving]. 2 Corinthians 9:7 AMPC
Have you received a gift from someone who gave with a grudging attitude of obligation? How did that make you feel?
How do you think God feels when we give Him nothing or when we give Him little or when we resent what we give Him?
8 And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. 2 Corinthians 9:8 AMPC
Thanks to God
12 For the service that the ministering of this fund renders does not only fully supply what is lacking to the saints (God’s people), but it also overflows in many [cries of] thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:12 AMPC
God is Glorified
13 Because at [your] standing of the test of this ministry, they will glorify God for your loyalty and obedience to the Gospel of Christ which you confess, as well as for your generous-hearted liberality to them and to all [the other needy ones]. 2 Corinthians 9:13 AMPC
The Results of God’s Grace
14 And they yearn for you while they pray for you, because of the surpassing measure of God’s grace (His favor and mercy and spiritual blessing which is shown forth) in you. 2 Corinthians 9:14 AMPC
Thanks Be to God
15 Now thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! 2 Corinthians 9:15 AMPC
Plan Your Giving and Work the Plan
Many believers find a regular plan for giving to be both scriptural and practical. Planning ensures against irregular or unwise giving or neglect. In a day when so many demands are made on time and money, planned giving helps you honor the Lord with your possessions. Your plan can include these steps:
- Remember to whom you are giving (see Deuteronomy 8:17-18). Your gift may benefit others, but it is primarily an act of worshipping God. Therefore, give with joy because you have received all from God.
- Prayerfully decide what percentage of income you will return to the Lord.
- Set aside the Lord’s portion first whenever you receive money. Put this aside to be used as He leads; once set aside, it should not be used for other purposes.
- Prayerfully distribute the Lord’s money as He directs. It is good to do this on a regular basis whenever possible. For example, when a paycheck is received, the Lord’s portion is immediately set aside and given.
- Make extra gifts and increase your giving as God increases your faith and as He prospers you. As you trust God with your material resources, He will trust you with His spiritual resources. He has committed Himself to this principle (Luke 16:9-12; Philippians 4:17).
- Give according to what you have; not according to what you don’t have (see 2 Corinthians 8:12-15).
The person who dedicates his money to God is dedicating himself—the fruit of his time, talent, and energy to God. The person who fails to dedicate his money has not fully committed himself to God.
Starting Point for a Giving Plan
Use the space that follows to record your plan for giving.
|Why I plan to give:
|My heart attitude in giving:
|To whom I plan to give:
|The amount I will give:
|When I plan to give:
The Offering Easy to Equal But Hard to Exceed
41 And He sat down opposite the treasury and saw how the crowd was casting money into the treasury. Many rich [people] were throwing in large sums. 42 And a widow who was poverty-stricken came and put in two copper mites [the smallest of coins], which together make half of a cent. 43 And He called His disciples [to Him] and said to them, Truly and surely I tell you, this widow, [she who is] poverty-stricken, has put in more than all those contributing to the treasury. 44 For they all threw in out of their abundance; but she, out of her deep poverty, has put in everything that she had—[even] all she had on which to live. Mark 12:41-44 AMPC
The rich people gave out of their material wealth at little or no cost to them.
The widow out of her poverty gave everything.
She demonstrated complete trust in God to take care of her because she sacrificially gave everything she had to Him.
She also demonstrated her wholehearted commitment to God.
What is God saying to you personally from her example?
Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Your Heart Be Also
19 Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. 20 But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21 AMPC
Treasures on earth are temporary (verse 19). There are dangers, threats, and risks associated with your temporary treasures stored on earth.
Treasures in heaven are eternal (verse 20). There are no dangers, threats, or risks associated with your eternal treasures stored in heaven.
What are some things you regard as treasures on earth?
What are some things you regard as treasures in heaven?
When Jesus says, “Do not store up,” do you think He is against responsible savings?
Summarize the truth of verse 21 in your own words. Make an honest assessment of the focus of your heart based on where your treasures are stored.
How You Live and Walk
15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV 1984)
The Temple of the Holy Spirit
19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMPC
Read Romans 12:1 and 2 Corinthians 7:1 below.
1 I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 AMPC
1 THEREFORE, SINCE these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 AMPC
In the two verses above, what did Paul urge us to do with our bodies? Why?
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers. 3 John 1:2 AMPC
In the verse above, what was John concerned about besides our spiritual well-being?
An Honest Assessment of How You Can Take Better Care of Your Body
From the following list, prayerfully choose an area in which you can improve the care of your body. What kinds of changes will you make?
- Establishing and maintaining healthy eating habits
- Exercising regularly
- Getting sufficient rest
- Avoiding harmful habits Treat your physical body with care because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You will think and feel better when you have proper nourishment, sleep, and exercise.
God’s Manifold Gifts
God has designed and given each one of us our appearance, voice, talents, skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and other characteristics and has also given us each at least one spiritual gift. God expects you to participate in the body of Christ by demonstrating Christlike attitudes and by building others up through the use of his God-given resources. 10 As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of God’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor]. 1 Peter 4:10 AMPC
An Honest Assessment of Yourself, Your Strengths, and Your Weaknesses
The apostle Peter might have listed three of his strengths as enthusiasm, leadership, and speaking, while one of his weaknesses might have been impulsiveness.
List three of your strengths and one of your weaknesses.
How to Biblically Assess Yourself and Your Gifts
3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. 4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. 6 Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; 7 [He whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; 8 He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness. Romans 12:3-8 AMPC
A believer ought to rate his ability with sober judgment, according to the degree of faith apportioned by God.
Each one of us ought to use the gifts God has given us to serve one another.
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 NASB 1995
Prayerfully ask God to show you how to use what He has given you to serve others.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, 27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 Because we are members (parts) of His body. Ephesians 5:25-30 AMPC
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:22-24 NKJV
Husbands and Wives
33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. Ephesians 5:33 AMPC
4 Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 AMPC
Sons and Daughters
1 CHILDREN, OBEY your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right. 2 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother—this is the first commandment with a promise—3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. Ephesians 6:1-3 AMPC
Older and Younger Men and Women
1 DO NOT sharply censure or rebuke an older man, but entreat and plead with him as [you would with] a father. Treat younger men like brothers; 2 [Treat] older women like mothers [and] younger women like sisters, in all purity. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 AMPC
3 [Always] treat with great consideration and give aid to those who are truly widowed (solitary and without support). 1 Timothy 5:3 AMPC
5 Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church)—[giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 AMPC
17 Let the elders who perform the duties of their office well be considered doubly worthy of honor [and of adequate financial support], especially those who labor faithfully in preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain, and again, The laborer is worthy of his hire. 19 Listen to no accusation [presented before a judge] against an elder unless it is confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 1 Timothy 5:17-19 AMPC
1 I WARN and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honor and splendor) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded): 2 Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully; 3 Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation). 4 And [then] when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will win the conqueror’s crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:1-4 AMPC
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:18-21 NASB95
14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 NIV
Remember you used to be an unbeliever.
1 LET EVERY person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment. 2 Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them]. 3 For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience. 6 For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service. 7 Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due. Romans 13:1-7 AMPC
8 Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements]. 9 The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. Romans 13:8-10 AMPC
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:11-17 NKJV
12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. 13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. 14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. Colossians 3:12-14 AMPC