Speeding is more American than football. And honestly who really cares? Even the judicial system calls it a misdemeanor–kind of like we break speed limits by accident. So should Christians really care about speeding, or is doing so simple legalism?
Most Christians would call it legalism, claiming that if God really cared about speeding, he would make it bother our consciences. But in two places (Prov. 14:12 and 16:25) the bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” We think a lot of foolish things are good ideas, so we should regularly challenge our unchallenged assumptions.
In that Spirit, let’s consider a biblical standard for interactions with the law: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities [. . .] Whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” (Rom. 13:1-3) That sounds pretty clear; God established our governing authorities, and those authorities established speed limits. Therefore, Christians breaking the speed limit, resist God’s speed limit.
The consequences of speeding can be great. For instance, many people justify drinking underage by saying, “You speed, and you think it’s okay, so why are you getting on my case about breaking the law? We both know its not a big deal.” Legally this logic is pretty impecible, because the vast majority of underage drinking violations are ruled as misdemeanors. When we fail to follow the speed limit, we unnecessarily cause our brothers to stumble.
Romans 13 also says, “the authorities are ministers of God.” This passage reminds us that the government functions to serve and minister to us by executing justice, providing us with safety, and other services. Speed limits are not arbitrary numbers set in place to bother us, they are meant to keep us safe.
Moreover, following the speed limit is a practical way of keeping your life on God’s time. Maybe when you’re late to a meeting or a hang out with friends, it’s God’s plan for you to follow the speed limit and be even later. Maybe he wants you to rely on him for patience when you’re running errands.
If all this seems silly to you, then ask yourself this: why do you speed? I speed because I want control; I desire to arrive when I want to, and go at the pace I want to. Too easily we let our idols of control and power rule our will in “insignificant” ways, but Jesus demands to be king over all your entire life, even your gas pedal.