The foundational problem with civil government is that it ideally should be both trustworthy and efficient. Which is to say: we want the state to be righteous and effective. Get the job done, and get it done correctly. This is a problem because every civil government is comprised of sinners: an untrustworthy race.

Monarchy solves the problem of efficiency. There is no government more efficient than an absolute monarchy. If the king says, “Raise taxes by .5%,” then taxes will be raised by .5%. No committees, votes, filibusters, or vetoes. When something is needed, it can be immediately provided. However, monarchy fails the test of trustworthiness. For every righteous ruler, history has seen 12 unrighteous. The king who orders quick defensive maneuvers against an invading army can, with the stroke of a pen, order quick offensive maneuvers against his own people, for the sake of ill-gotten gain. So monarchy is efficient, but it is not dependable.

Democracy, for the most part, solves the problem of trustworthiness. There is no government more trustworthy than a democracy. Through an elaborate system of checks and balances, no one person is ever in control of the government. Democracy has a way of preventing bad-eggs from ruining the meal. However, democracy fails the test of efficiency. Every check and balance that keeps the government accountable to the people only slows down the time it takes for important decisions to be made. This is why the Roman Republic made provision for temporary dictators to be elected in times of crisis. Democracy is trustworthy, but it is not effective.

To be sure: no earthly government, being comprised of sinners, will achieve a perfect fulfillment of effectiveness and trustworthiness. No state will bring-forth a perfect administration of justice for us.

Yet in the shadows of imperfect rulers, Scripture draws our gaze upward to a more excellent, true and greater King: Jesus Christ. One day these earthly stewards will give-way to the everlasting government of Christ. His rule will satisfy our political angst – the constant struggle between efficiency and trustworthiness. Christ is immutable (Hebrews 13:8), and so He is perfectly trustworthy. Christ our King can be depended on to always do the right thing. Christ is also sovereign (Matthew 28:18), and so He is perfectly efficient. Christ doesn’t have to walk around red-tape or have decisions approved by a committee. He will execute justice swiftly and perfectly.

Christ, the true and greater King, will one day manifest His authority. Let us look forward in faith to that day with great expectation and hope.

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