/ ethics / Jared Olivetti

Gentle Answers #2: How Fast?

Short and sweet, here's the next question:

Is it a sin to go 66mph in a 65mph zone?

(I hope you'll join in the conversation! And remember to keep submitting your questions.)


Rich Holdeman responds:

No.


Barry York responds:

Yes, but it is a far greater sin to keep the speed limit and believe yourself superior to those who do not or, dare I say, to swerve to miss the gnat hitting the windshield only to run into a camel.


James Faris responds:

Is it a sin to go one mile-per-hour over the speed limit? Not if you a first responder such as a police officer! But, what about the rest of us? God has given the state real authority. The state must establish certain laws beyond the specific direction of Scripture for safety, just as parents do for their children. These laws should be obeyed as part of our obedience to God, insofar as the do not require us to sin (Romans 13:5).

We must also understand how the law functions. Jesus showed the Pharisees in Matthew 12:11 that they did understand how the law is to function based on what the Pharisees would do with one of their own sheep that fell into a pit on the Sabbath. It may be wrong to curl sheep on the Sabbath to build your biceps, but it is not wrong to lift a sheep from a pit on the Sabbath.

So with speed limits, a civil law instituted by man for the sake of safety. We are to abide by the law, but for the sake of safety there will be times when we need to speed up - the magistrates who wrote the law knew so, and officers on the roads enforce the laws with that knowledge. However, we should not use those times of necessity as an excuse for sin.

What does it mean to go-with-the-flow of traffic for safety's sake? It is a judgment call, and it requires wisdom. Far more could be written about the nature of law and government on this topic. But, this kind of question often reflects matters of the heart. Are we simply looking for excuses to sin? Let's be honest, it's not all that difficult to figure out at a practical level. Examine your heart by asking: "When I pass an officer on the side of the road, do I instinctively slow down?"

Jared Olivetti

Jared Olivetti

I'm a pastor at Immanuel RPC in West Lafayette, Indiana. God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, six kids and a loving church family.

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