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The Ideal Government

The ideal government must combine the principles of both justice and mercy.

Justice means equity, impartiality and the unerring application of an inexorable law. But who could endure a stern justice where there was no hope of mercy for erring men? Everyone who is conscious of his own failings will be compassionate toward the mistakes of others.

The exercise of justice and mercy appear to be inimical. "Justice" means to treat every man as he deserves. "Mercy" means to treat him better than he deserves. The human mind requires both, but finds them impossible to combine. The ideal government will extend absolute justice and at the same time will not fail to show mercy. And any system of government that fails to combine justice and mercy will one day fall by the weight of its own corruption. This is why human history knows of no enduring system of law and order.

Yet the "impossible" has been achieved. Such an ideal system of government has already been established. It will soon be set up and, without question (as a great statesman once said), "it shall stand forever."

Amazingly, this ideal government was not established by force of arms or by popular vote. It was established by one lone Man who died on a cross. But you will ask, "Why this mysterious death? What did that have to do with establishing a perfect government for all men?" The explanation deserves the serious consideration of every man who wants to see the rule of equity and compassion in society and in the family of nations.

The Almighty God, as Creator, Ruler and Judge of all, has a government. It rests on two great pillars: justice and mercy.

"Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face." Ps. 89:14.

When some of His subjects committed rebellion and treason, the Judge had a God-sized problem on His hands. If He executed the rebels (which His righteous law demanded), how could He satisfy His yearning desire to show mercy and forgiveness? On the other hand, if He exercised compassion, how could He be true to His own inexorable justice. Each principle was as strong as the other. God's desire to show mercy was as strong as His desire to uphold justice. How could He establish His government on the basis of eternal security and be true to Himself?

This is what the cross of Jesus Christ is all about. The Judge of all came to this planet in the person of Jesus Christ. Though Lord of all, He became servant of all. He left His throne because His love called Him that way. Though innocent, He voluntarily stood in our place and assumed our guilt. Justice demanded that sin be punished and the death penalty be executed. This Son of the infinite God suffered as we deserve in order that we may be treated as He deserves. Divine justice unsheathed its sword against our Substitute. The suffering of Christ was incomprehensible. Yet there was no relenting until justice was fully satisfied for the sins of the whole world. Those who think that God is some easy-going, indulgent benevolence should consider the cross and see that the Ruler of the universe is clothed in terrible and impartial justice.

Not only did justice have to be fully satisfied at the cross, but mercy too. Here God's mercy was seen to be as great and as strong as His justice. At the cross, God provided absolution and forgiveness for the race. "If One died for all," says St. Paul, "then were all dead." 2 Cor. 5:14. That is to say, since Christ has died in every man's place, He has paid the penalty for the sins of every man. It is the same as if every man had died and paid the penalty for his own sins. The resurrection of Christ from the dead is God's witness to us that, in Christ, 1.) God has taken away the sins of the world, 2.) that we have been redeemed, 3.) that mercy higher than the heavens and deeper than hell has been offered and extended to us for Jesus' sake.

Of Christ, the ancient prophet declared, "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Isa. 9:6. This is because justice and mercy met in Jesus Christ and "kissed each other." Ps. 85:10. That is why God has appointed Him to be Judge and Ruler of all. With Him and Him alone, there is perfect justice and mercy. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins." 1 John 1:9. Justice himself embraces the repentant believer in Jesus as a righteous man. If we refuse His mercy and continue to trample on His law, mercy herself will punish us with "everlasting destruction." 2 Thess. 1:9.

If Christ thought God's government was worth dying for, we think His kingdom is worth living for. We cannot help establish it. That is already done! Neither can we help to set it up, for that will be done when Christ comes again in power and great glory. But we can extol its virtues and the goodness of Him who made it possible. And we do extend to you the King's invitation to be part of His ideal society: "Whosoever will, let him come!" and "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!!"