“They allow you five miles over the limit.”
Whether they always do and who these “they” are is entirely beside the point. The point is whether the Judge will allow those five miles over the limit.
And we would like to point out, in case you missed that point, the word Judge begins with a capital letter and, therefore, refers to Him Who is the Judge of heaven and earth.
Really, it is not a question of what “they” say but what He says. His law is very definite and distinct. We are either right according to it, or we are wrong. Either we keep within its bounds, or we transgress and go over the line that He has clearly drawn. Either we obey and do what is pleasing in His sight, or we disobey and add to our debt and guilt. The argument that the traffic officer, highway patrol man, Safety Patrol, or whatever he is called in your area (who is the “they” mentioned above) must allow five miles above the posted speed limit, because all speedometers do not read exactly alike, and some room has to be left for these mechanical inaccuracies, falls away when we bear in mind that when you have gone faster even than those five miles above that speed limit, these five miles are, added to the amount of miles held against you. If you have gone ten miles faster than the posted speed, you are not fined for five of them and forgiven the others because of mechanical inaccuracies in the speedometers in different makes and types of automobiles, but you are fined one dollar for each mile above the posted speed. Then the first five miles per hour over that limit are as evil as those above five miles, and they will cost you just as much. Then suddenly you have to go by the speedometer of the officer.
Then, too, there is the obligation of every driver to make sure that his automobile is with all its equipment in good working order before he moves it. And that includes his speedometer. Besides, if one doubts the accuracy of his speedometer and equipment his calling is to stay a safe speed under rather over the posted speed.
Traffic laws are made to protect life and are designed for the well being of the neighbor, whose good we are obliged by the law of God to seek. And we ought therefore to give good heed to the efforts of those in authority over us to do unto others, in this instance also, as we would have them do unto us. Would we desire to be injured, have our children killed and crippled, have our property damaged? Of course not. We would live, enjoy life, be strong and well. Do then unto others so that we may further them in their pursuit of life and happiness. The sixth commandment as interpreted as by the Heidelberg Catechism means that we “prevent his (the neighbor’s) hurt as much as in us lies; and that we do good, even to our enemies.”
Our “hot-rodding” youth ought to take heed!
Speed kills ! Recklessness is unconcern for the neighbor’s well-being. The show-off shows off his hatred of the neighbor and not his love. And exceeding the posted limit with an eye on the rear view mirror for the officer’s car is failing utterly to take into account the Judge above and to live according to His law of love to the neighbor. His judgment seat we shall never escape. We all have an appointment there. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:10 that he expects to be there with the Corinthian church, for he says that “we”all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” Young people, — and sad to say older people as well, —may make a joke of their arrests and brag of their escapes. But unconcern for the well being of others is no joke; and there will be no bragging when the books are opened before the great white throne, and the sins we “got away with” in this life will be there to accuse us of the evil which we did.
Well, that is getting to be an introduction that is long enough for the subject. We are not at the moment concerning ourselves with the sixth commandment but rather with the fifth. Our driving habits, however, do show us how little we do render honour to whom honour is due. And it all begins at home in that we do not honour father and mother. Here in the basic unit of society we learn or we fail to learn to render honour to whom it is due.
The fifth commandment is different from the other nine in that it expresses the truth positively. It tells us what to do instead of what is forbidden us. And the law certainly condemns all this so-called child psychology that condemns all prohibitions and claims that you must only be positive in your approach to the child. Life is not that way, and Scripture teaches us clearly enough that we are always doing the forbidden by nature, because we are conceived and born in sin. And therefore, since we commit these evils, a word is in order to approach man with a “Thou shalt not!” In the denial of total depravity and taking the wicked position of the ungodly philosopher that a child comes into this world with a soul that is a “clean slate” and you and I can write what we will, your approach will indeed be the positive approach. You will suggest the “good,” encourage in the “good” and seek to train the child in the “good.” Why the quotation marks? Because the worldly philosopher does not know what good is. And many there will be, Jesus said, whose position today is, when they stand before His judgment seat and are told that they must depart from Him into everlasting torment, “But, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name: and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name have done many wonderful works?” But what actually is pleasing in His sight they never knew. They built their philosophical structures apart from the Word of God. They dare to deny the infallibility of His Word, and yet claim to have done many wonderful works for Him. Some are haughty enough even to say that He is dead and that His Word is not relevant for the day in which we live and still expect this “dead” God to bless them, and to boast before Him of what they did in His name. (I suppose that in His name they proclaimed the blasphemy that He is dead.) But take the position of that infallible Word of God, maintain its undeniable doctrine of total, complete, absolute depravity, and you can understand why God comes to us with a law that is, except for this fifth commandment, in the form of a “Thou shalt not!” There we are! God from on high looks down and sees the children of men. And what He sees is a people, a whole human race that has another and other gods besides Him, walking in idolatry, taking His name in vain and having utter disregard for His Sabbath. He sees a people that has no honour and respect for authority and goes about killing, committing adultery, stealing and bearing false witness and thoroughly covetous and greedy.
That He places the fifth commandment in the positive form, however, is not due to the fact that at times the natural man is found honouring even father and mother. Certainly the day of revolt and riot, of revolution and rebellion in which we live is a clear denial of that position. And the world today is not any different from the world wherein man lived when God gave His law on Mt. Sinai, except perhaps in degree, for there is a steady and definite development of sin. Cain killed his brother, and Lamech dared to boast of killing more dreadfully and with more reason for punishment. And today men consider Cain and Lamech as mere beginners. They were so unskilled in their killing. They did not know the fine touch of today’s murderers, nor the brassy boldness. There we saw the child of sin. Growing up rapidly before our eyes is the full-fledged, thoroughly trained and equipped man of sin. Too bad some people cannot see that and still want to talk about a restraint of sin in the heart of the unregenerated by the Spirit. “Common grace” must be a very inferior grace that fights such a losing, and such a glaringly losing battle against sin. The so-called Christian nations are outstripping the pagan world for sheer brutality, for bestiality, for immorality, murder, theft and crime of every sort. With every new law there arises another generation that sets its heart on trying to find out how to get around that law with impunity. Race riots and organized violence of union members are not only rampant. They are even defended and advocated.
And the beginning of so much of it is exactly in the home. Honour to father and mother is lacking. As the British educator remarked, when he came home from a visit to our country, “It is amazing how well the parents obey the children in the United States.” Juvenile delinquency is burning like wild fire. On every side you see youth rebelling openly against all order and rule. And this is no doubt due in the first place to parental delinquency. But we must not talk such foolishness about a restraint of sin. Especially not lest, we contradict Him Who declares that the measure of iniquity will be filled before the day of Christ dawns.
There is not even much external restraint of sin by those in authority today. We all have seen the picture of the policeman standing and watching, perhaps in fear of consequences, if he interfered, but nevertheless standing and watching, while goods are stolen from a store during a race riot. The criminal gets a “fairer” hearing and treatment than the victim of his brutality. Places of wickedness are not closed but allowed to remain open for the sake of the large amount of tax money they bring in, and then periodically raided as a veneer of indignation for the crimes committed. But why go on? From Adam’s eating of one piece of fruit until the rains of the flood began to fall, there was no restraint of sin in the heart of unregenerated man by the Spirit of Christ. Genesis 6:3 does not say that the Spirit will not always strive in the heart of man; and verse 5 strongly emphasizes a total depravity that is absolute. For we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, that that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.”How would you put it more strongly? And we repeat, that if verse 3 means that in a “common grace” God will by His Spirit restrain sin in the heart of the unregenerated, it surely was an inferior and proven-to-be worthless grace. For after striving by His Spirit with man in that “common grace” things got worse instead of better. For verse five is the end result. What is more, God decides that this “common grace” is not going to be common anymore. He will destroy man, and surely not in any kind of grace that He has. In wrath, dealing with man according to his evil works, God will come with the destruction of the flood.
And from the exodus out of the ark through the sins of Noah and of Ham sin has again set out on a course of development that will bring the whole world to destruction in the day of Christ. Riot and revolution, revolt and rebellion are not anything strange today. Look for worse days ahead!
The tree of sin can bring forth more fruit, and the ungodly under the power of Satan are constantly striving to “improve” the strain. Without modern means of communication and transportation, with our electronic and mechanical marvels, — and how many are not yet in store for man as utterly apart from the fear of God, he digs into the bowels of the earth and reaches depraved flesh? — man does make much progress in the way of sin. He can “compare notes” and revise his approach. He can unite with others and combine ideas to produce fruit upon the tree of sin that the wicked world before the flood would have envied. We say, Look for worse days ahead. That is the Word of God. Paul’s word to Timothy in II Timothy 3:1-5 was not that the Church is going to exercise some leavening influence upon the world and bring about some “civic righteousness.” And dare we say that these days of which Paul speaks, these perilous times as he describes them are past already? And in II Timothy 3:13 he declares, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” The kingdom of the Antichrist will not be more Christ like than the world has been in the past. It will be more Satanic. The cancer begun in man’s soul in paradise makes steady progress, and no measures of man can stop its phenomenal growth.
In His fear there is hope. In His fear there is respect for those in authority, for in His fear we love God, The Authority, and desire to be pleasing in His sight. We would honour Him as the God that He is, and therefore we honour His servants.