Is Speeding a Sin?

March 27, 2009

Driving to work, the guy behind me was flashing his lights and blowing his horn.  Did I have a flat tire?  Was my muffler falling off?  No.  I was driving 25 M.P.H., and he didn’t appreciate it very much.   The speed limit?  25 M.P.H.

On another day, I flashed my headlights at several cars going the opposite direction, just moments before we passed each other.  I saw brake lights in my rear-view mirror.   One fellow waved in gratitude as we passed each other.

Try driving the speed limit on a two lane road.  You will have people steadily passing you by.  It seems few pay attention to the speed limit.

As far as I can tell, this complete disregard for the law is widespread.  There are, of course, excuses we make.  “I only go a little over the speed limit.”  “Everyone does it.”  “The speed limits are ridiculously low.”  “I can’t be late.”  However, this sounds like moral relativizing to me.  Is speeding wrong, or isn’t it?  What does God say about it?

Romans 13:1-7:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

From this passage I say we have a command to obey the civil authorities, and that to disobey the civil authorities is to disobey God, which is sin.  I conclude that speeding, which is against the law, is thus a sin.  (Of course, we always obey God above man, should the civil authorities require us to do something against God’s laws.)

Someone might say that this is legalism – a piling on of man-made rules that we must follow in order to earn favor with God.  Indeed, someone might drive down the road, concientiously obeying the speed limit, thinking they are earning points with God and working their way into heaven.  We cannot earn our way into heaven.  No, to the contrary, here we have a God-given command to obey the civil authorities.  We therefore obey because it is our pleasure and joy to obey God.  Like any other sin, we avoid speeding not so that we can earn our salvation, but rather out of grateful obedience to our loving God.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, will you heed God’s word and slow down?

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