The purest and highest form of government is self government. Next is moral law, or consciousness of right and wrong, good and evil. Lastly is civil law. For those who are unable to govern themselves, moral law steps in. Those who reject moral law, civil law takes over. If people are healthy psychologically, they wouldn’t be imprisoned for unlawful behavior. So instead of addressing sin nature, our penal system addresses behavior which is nothing more than a manifestation of sin. The system focuses on punishment without restoration. Therefore, root causes go un-challenged and sin nature increases.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to inhabit the “Temple not made with human hands”. Justice was dealt with swiftly, “eye-for-an-eye; tooth-for-a-tooth; life-for-a-life”. There was no prolonged litigation. Before Rome, incarceration is not mentioned. The sixth commandment states “Thou shalt not murder”. The operative word is murder. God is not against killing per se. The Old Testament is full of graphic detail illustrating killing that transpired between enemies. In many instances, God orchestrated the killing.
Under the New Covenant, man has an opportunity to repent as long as he has breath. God is a God of order and a God of justice. Scripture teaches us to restore the fallen, or to rehabilitate. Everyone deserves love, and a second (third, fourth, 70X70) chance. The penal system, government, etc., is made up of people. The church and Kingdom are made up of people. The kingdom of darkness is made up of people. Business – people, the world – people, etc. The common denominator in all….is people. If God’s people through ignorance or apathy refuse to take charge, the enemy’s people most definitely aretaking charge. All great empires of the world, during the peak of their greatness, had policies of zero tolerance toward injustice. Subsequently, punishments prescribed (appropriate to the crime) were a formidable deterrent to crime, to include flogging. Rome, the greatest empire in world history, ruled for over 700 years. Their capital punishment was crucifixion. Roman subjects thought deep and often about whether or not they were willing to pay the price if caught. All great nations in history decayed from within as soon as they embraced an attitude of tolerance toward injustice with a shift in focus from the rights of the victim to the rights of the perpetrator. Life in prison, on-the-other-hand, is cost prohibitive.