Why Does God Delay Judgement?
2 Peter 3:8,9
/But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance/.
We cannot help but wonder, sometimes aloud, why God delays judgement against wicked men.
The story is told of a tyrant who cruelly oppressed the Faith during the days of the Roman emperors.
As one saint of God was haled before that wicked man, the ruler gloated, “Now where is your God, Christian?”
The saint of God responded with measured tone, “God is driving nails in your coffin, O tyrant.”
In Myanmar, Christians are compelled at gunpoint to worship before a Buddhist shrine and robbed to provide moneys for erection of Buddhist temples.
Where is God?
In Indonesia, Christians are murdered with what appears to be legal sanction or even government complicity.
Why is God silent?
In Vietnam, Christians are imprisoned and the churches taxed inordinately, as is true for the Faith in China and in Cambodia.
Why does God wait?
In Saudi Arabia, the Faith is severely restricted and Christians worship at risk of death since they are said to be insulting the prophet Mohammed.
Why does God tolerate such injustice?
In Nepal and in Pakistan and in Bangladesh, Christians are sentenced to death because they are Christians.
Does God not care?
In Somalia and in Ethiopia, Christian men are killed and Christian women are sold into slavery and prostitution.
How long, O God? In Israel, Christians are discriminated against and Messianic Jews are denied citizenship because their faith is unpopular.
Why, O God? In Greece and in Serbia and Russia, all Christians save the old line Orthodox Church are proscribed from open worship or practise of the Faith.
Why does God delay judgement?
Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book entitled /Why Bad Things Happen to Good People/ some years back.
That book became a best seller throughout North America.
The thesis of the book is that God is good, but He is not omnipotent.
Though God wishes He could do more, He is powerless to stop suffering.
The author concludes that people simply must make the best of situations and endure knowing that their sorrows will cease when they one day die.
Is that really the situation?
Is God truly powerless in the face of evil?
Do we serve a fusty old deity who wishes good would prevail but cannot make it so?
That God delays judgement is evident.
The reason for His delay is less obvious, especially to those who are determined to do evil.
The message this day is an exploration of the reason for God’s delay.
The Word is quite clear on one issue: God shall judge evil.
In fact, sin has already been judged and sinners are already condemned.
It is only the timidity of Christians that has today silenced the declaration that sinners are condemned.
The only issue still outstanding in the judgement of the wicked is when that judgement shall be accomplished, and that knowledge is reserved for God alone.
We who are redeemed by the grace of God are confident that He shall put down all wickedness in His time.
Yet, when we are ourselves oppressed, and when we see our fellow saints cruelly oppressed, we inwardly groan and wonder how long God will delay His judgement.
At such times we need to review the Word of God which assures us that there is a reason for God’s delay.
That reason speaks more of the nature of God than anything we could imagine.
Join me in exploring these two exciting verses.
*The Certainty of God’s Promise* – God does not lie [cf.
Even the disgraced prophet, Balaam, acknowledged this truth when he said in his second oracle to Balak:
/God is not a man, that he should lie,/
/nor a son of man, that he should change his mind/
Just as God Himself /does not change like shifting shadows/ [*James 1:17*], so His Word is sure.
This truth is vital, for God cannot be God if His promises are unreliable.
God can be neither holy nor righteous is He is capable of lying.
Similarly, we cannot rely on God, we cannot trust His promises, if we do not know whether He is lying or speaking truth.
What does this mean to us either as Christians or as outsiders?
As Christians we seize the rich multiplied promises of God so that we may be comforted.
Has He not promised:
/Never will I leave you; /
/never will I forsake you/
Just so, we say with confidence,
/The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
/What can man do to me?/
We know that our Lord is ever with us.
We are not alone.
We are not left as orphans.
Our Lord Jesus Himself walks with His people, and He is ever with us.
Practically, the consequence of this knowledge is a life marked by peace, by joy, and by the love of God.
Is not the promise to believers which is recorded in *John 16:33* precious?
In Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world.
This is but an expansion of the earlier promise which Jesus gave in *John 14:27*.
/Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid/.
I find it of great interest that whenever Jesus appeared to His disciples following His resurrection He greeted them with the words: /Peace be with you/ [cf.
*Luke 24:36*; *John 20:19*].
Peace marks life of the one walking with Christ the Lord.
The Gospel began with an announcement of joy [*Luke 2:10*].
As the time for His Passion drew near, Jesus spoke frequently of the joy which would belong to His disciples.
He told them to obey the Father’s command so that His joy may be in them and that their joy may be complete [*John 15:11*].
He told then that though they would soon grieve, their grief would turn to joy [*John 16:20-23*].
Such promises are the heritage of all the saints.
What a great promise is *John 16:23*: Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Jesus’ High Priestly prayer contains Jesus’ request to the Father that the disciples may have the full measure of His joy within them [*John 17:13*].
Christians may appropriate the command of the Apostle (which is less a command then exultation in the Lord’s grace).
/Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!/ [*Philippians 4:4*].
John’s Gospel begins with a statement of the blessing flowing from Christ’s grace.
/From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another/ [*John 1:16*].
That grace includes the deep love of Jesus for His people.
/The kindness and love of God/ in Christ was said to appear [*Titus 3:4*].
Who among us has not read and thrilled at the words of *Romans 8:31-39*?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
It is God who justifies.
Who is he that condemns?