I Can Drive 55 (Reading Romans 13:8-14)

In Romans 13:10 Paul says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” In his commentary on Romans John Stott explains this verse by saying, “Love and law need each other. Love needs law for its direction, while law needs love for its inspiration.”[i]

So how are you doing with the speed limit? Nothing seems to bring out our innate desire for rebellion like the speed limit. Little women in large SUV’s are speedy rebels. There is a stretch near our church where a school intersection and two church driveways collide. The local municipality recently inserted a red light and lowered the speed limit in that area from 55 to 30. There is much rebellion going on down Deerfoot Parkway these days. I am not sure if it is my own expression of rebellion, but when I reach that section of road I abruptly lower my speed from 55 to 30 within an inch of the sign. I brake so hard that I can see nothing but pavement for a split second; then I creep along daring anyone to hit me. On that note, I want to thank all of the women who almost ran over me this morning for dropping off your babies at Baptist daycare before you went NASCAR on the rest of the world. That was me, the turtle, you almost killed today.

It is human to hate speed limits. It is a sin to break them. Yet nothing pulls us back in line like the sight of the state patrol sitting inconspicuously behind a tree. When we see smokey we all do that nose dive, pavement seeing, braking thing. We fear the law.

As a pastor, and a person, I have noticed that most of us fear being caught for doing wrong than we love doing right. What if we loved doing right? The law needs love. What if we learned to love 55? If you loved 55, 56 or 90 would be no issue. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

In the end it comes down to the question of whether or not you love Jesus, or do you simply fear Him? Are your “right” moments with Lord and neighbor motivated more by the fear of being caught or the love of doing right? I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” Sad to say, but the southern fried version of Christianity is most often motivated by guilt. We relate to Jesus like He is a policeman on a hill with radar. We run fast and furious toward our most sinful habits until we realize we may be caught, we brake, nose dive, and stare at the pavement. Once you exit smokey’s sight, it is foot to the pedal again.

Just between us, that form of Christianity isn’t working for you is it? I know. I’ve been there and have the membership card to prove it. Frankly, I hate the club, and hated that version of guilt ridden faith.

In His rescue of the soul God has given us His Holy Spirit so that doing the right thing becomes a satisfying pleasure. In Christ the law is fulfilled in love, and we can drive 55. If I drive 30 in a 30, guess what, I am not concerned about law enforcement with radar. Yet, I must confess there is a sinister side of me that does wish he would catch a NASCAR angel or two as they blow by me out of Baptist daycare. Holiness is a struggle.

[i] Romans, God’s Good News for the World, John Stott (Downer’s Grove: Intervarsity Press, 1994), 350.


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