don’t waste your speeding ticket


last night on our family blog, i posted about getting a speeding ticket on the short drive home from the park-and-ride. i didn’t expect any comments about the post, but there was an interesting exchange in the comments about my decision to go to court when i am clearly guilty. why not just confess my guilt, send in the fine, and be done with it?



good question. and i am pleased to be able to use this opportunity not to argue my case about something as minor as a speeding ticket, but as a means to awaken us all to the reality of god’s glory (and how we daily trample it in ways big and small, known and unknown) and our absolute dependence of his being unjust in showing us mercy. let me explain.     


but first, i guess i should directly answer the question above. so, let me clarify my decision to go to court before moving on to the bigger picture to which we all need to be awakened daily. darin’s comment sums up my rationale for going to court quite well, but here it is in my own words: i am going to court not because i am not guilty (i am). and i am not going to court to pretend otherwise – no posturing, no legalese. i am guilty. i want my day in court not to prove my innocence but to humbly proclaim my guilt and at the same time wholeheartedly pursue mercy. i am going to court because this a remedy that is provided to seek less punishment for my guilt – e.g., less of a fine; less increase in my car insurance if the speed is reduced; or sometimes the judge can even decide to not count the ticket at all! i know that seems like a travesty of justice. and it is. and i will rejoice if that is the outcome. not because i deserve it. but because of mercy. and if i can rejoice over mercy shown to me by a human judge over something as minor as a speeding ticket, then how much more should all of us daily be rejoicing over the mercy god shows us through the injustice of justifying sinners like us?



in “the blazing center: the soul-satisfying supremacy of god in all things,” john piper does a great job of explaining the problem god had in justifying sinners like us – something most of us don’t really agonize over or even think about all that much. following is my attempt at a transcription of his comments: 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins” (Romans 3:23-25)


Sin is all about being defined in relationship to the glory of God.  Sin is a falling short of the glory of God.  So what can be done about it?  Answer: the cross.


Jesus came into the world to do two things – to bear our curse and provide our righteousness.  There’s a curse upon us that Christ came to bear and lift from us (Galatians 3:13). Christ lived a perfect life since we could not. All my sins are gone.  All my righteousness is provided.  But, here’s the point you need to get: God had a view toward his glory when he put Christ on the cross for us.


Christ was put forth to show that the glory of God’s righteousness is not compromised in forgiving you and taking away your sin because of faith.  And Romans 3:25 says he did it because he had passed over former sins.  What does this mean?


Do you recall the story of King David and his affair with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah (see 2 Samuel 11:1-12:15).  God comes to Nathan the prophet and gives him a message for David to convict him of his sin.  And out of David’s mouth comes repentance and out of Nathan’s mouth, from God, comes, “The Lord has taken away your sin.”  Now, picture yourself as Uriah’s dad, to which I would reply, “No way!  You’re just gonna say, ‘You’re forgiven?!?’  He killed my son, raped my daughter-in-law!”  Any judge on the bench who says to a rapist and a murderer, “You’re okay. You can go. You promise not to do it again. I forgive you,” would be off the bench in a minute, and it would be called a travesty of justice…


and that’s what God does for you everyday!!!!  And therefore, God is radically unjust!  It’s called an abomination in the book of Proverbs to justify the ungodly


Now, do you see the problem God had in justifying sinners like us?  Hardly anybody in America wrestles with this problem.  The only problem we wrestle with is that God is mean to us when bad things happen and not that God is gracious to us and is unjust in forgiving us.  So, what does God do to solve the problem of the glory of his justice being compromised in the forgiveness of sinners?  He kills his son.  He puts his son in our place so that all of the universe would see that God takes sin seriously.  God exalts his glory.  When David tramples his glory in the dirt and God comes along and says, “I forgive you,” all of the universe cries out “NO!!”…until they see, a thousand years later, God saying, “This is how seriously I take my forgiveness of David. I slay my son in his place!  That’s what I do about sin. That’s what I do to vindicate my glory.”  So, at the center of history here at the cross, God is passionate about his glory. 

i thank god for the speeding ticket (and for the comments about it) because it opened my eyes afresh to the staggering, glorious, infinite, all-satisfying beauty of god’s glory as it is manifested in the injustice of his son dying (and rising again) to justify a filthy sinner like me. paul sums it up best: “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible/indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).


so, don’t waste your speeding ticket or anything else in your life  – suffering or success – that will point you again and again to the glory of god and his sovereign grace in our lives! speeding, sin, and soteriology – who would have thought a simple speeding ticket could be used to remind me of my great need for my great savior!


~ by david on May 20, 2008.

2 Responses to “don’t waste your speeding ticket”

  1. I love that you summed this up like this!! The post from your friend in the comments really made me think along this line and to read your way of capturing it is just awesome!! We are so blessed to benefit from mercy!! A gift from God…wholly undeserved!

  2. Wow! Nicely put. I like your writing… its a gift you know.

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