Why not speed?

November 18, 2007 at 10:08 pm 3 comments

Two people have asked me recently about the statement in my profile that I don’t speed. This isn’t an issue on which I like to hit people over the head, but since I’ve been asked about it, I decided to share my thinking. Besides, it’s a good chance to meditate on the concept of law in general.

There are three basic reasons why I quit speeding (first one below; the other two will come later this week):

speedlimit.jpg1. Observing civil laws communicates respect for God’s law and for His holiness.

Contemporary Christians often are not big on law, viewing it as a bad thing and preferring to emphasize that Christians live under grace.

Against this antinomian attitude, however, the Jews perceived law as a gift and a blessing. Psalms 119, for example, is a very lengthy psalm written as a meditation on God’s law and in praise of His commandments. A few excerpts:

Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law. (vs. 18)

Remove the false way from me,
And graciously grant me Your law. (vs. 29)

Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness. (vs. 40)

Why does the psalmist praise the law? Because the law shows people the path to right living and the path to happiness. It is given as a light, as an illumination, and it reveals God’s desires for his people.

Accordingly, law should not be seen as a bad thing, but as the basis of orderly, decent, harmonious societies. It’s something to be celebrated. When we abide by civil law, we communicate our appreciation for the concept of law generally, which by extension communicates respect for God’s law and His just government.

More to the point, the book of Romans specifically instructs Christians to obey civil authorities on the grounds that those civil authorities are placed there by God:

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. (Romans 13:1-2, ESV)

Civil authorities, therefore, are an extension of God’s government and should be obeyed as such.


Reasons two and three coming within a couple days. Until then, comments on the value of law and/or Christian attitudes toward it?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Marriage as a calling Why not speed? (pt. 2)

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rick Beckman  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts, Jamie; it’s very easy to slip into viewing law of any kind as a burden. Thinking of law instead as a means to illuminate us to what is right and holy… Seems like a good idea to me!

  • 2. Sam Chrisp  |  November 18, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    I agree. To me it seems clear-cut: as ambassadors & witnesses, followers of Christ should strive to submit to the laws and be above reproach in all things. We are to be salt, light, and to give unbelievers no room to accuse us of doing wrong (1 Peter 2:12).

    That said, of course, submission to authority must always be secondary to submission to God (Acts 5:29).

  • 3. Jo  |  November 19, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Well, you certainly are a persuasive writer! I’m brought to think about how fast I was driving today… hopefully your post will stick with me the next time!
    – Jo


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profile.jpgI am working on my M.A. in Religion at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Besides having a big interest in theology, history, ethics, and the deep stuff of life, I am also very fond of Mediterranean food, snow, and the color red.

Email me: jamie.kiley@gmail.com

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