Confessions of a Speeder
I was recently driving along a piece of freeway in my city that used to have those hateful speed cameras. Thank goodness they don’t anymore! I try hard not to speed and I generally don’t go more than a couple miles per hour over, but I find it hard not to drift faster and faster. I blame it on genetics. (Thanks, Mom! And Granddaddy! And Great Granddaddy!) Suddenly, I may look at the speedometer and find I’m over by 15mph!
The thing that I really didn’t like about those speed cameras was that they didn’t consider context. I’m ashamed to admit that I feel that I would fare much better in a camera-less world because I actually figure that as long as I’m going slower than most of the drivers, I will be overlooked. Cameras don’t care if everyone is speeding more than you are; if you’re over, you get ticketed.
Isn’t that the way most of us approach God? We figure we’ll come out all right on Judgment Day because, in light of everyone else, we’re doing pretty well! In fact, the more we look around, the more we could safely say we look pretty spick and span next to the average Joe! But that’s not how it works. I frankly don’t know anyone who has never, ever gone half a mile per hour over the speed limit nor is there anyone who has never, ever sinned.
It’s not that God is as merciless as a speed camera. He made everything and everyone and He knows exactly how we work and what will harm us and what will bless our lives. That’s what His speed limit signs are all about – helping us all get the most out of our vehicles (lives) while getting to our destination safely. He didn’t create the speed limit so we wouldn’t have any fun, but rather so that we would have the most fun possible if we would simply obey. The Law (or speed limit) is all about showing just how impossible it is to perfectly obey the Law so that we would recognize our need for a Savior.
So anyway, back to my analogy… All of us have broken the speed limit – at least a little – at least once – even if it was accidentally. We are all going to get a ticket. It’s coming and we can’t pay. It will cost more than we have or ever will have. But when your ticket comes, God offers an option. He’s willing to pay it! It’s not that it is no big deal to Him – it cost Him the life of His only Son. Nevertheless, He is willing. All we have to do is accept.
I realize that this is a bit of a simplistic analogy, but it struck me the other day how often we think we are righteous because we are “better than” someone else. But righteousness comes only by faith in Jesus Christ, not by our own efforts. And God is not grading on a curve. If He did we’d still be trusting in our own efforts. And God is not asking us to do the impossible. He’s asking us to trust Him to do the impossible on our behalf.
“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 2:22-24