Many wonder why God delays judgment on people when they are so clearly against Him. This includes, for example, politicians with strongly anti-Christian positions, terrorists, abortionists, etc. The categories below are not exhaustive; however, they should give some insight as to why God delays judgment.
Parable of the Tares
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matthew 13:24-30)
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43)
- Your parents or other direct ancestors, if they are or were spiritually lost. Had God judged them without delay, who would not be here right now? That's right, you!
- Later converts. Not everybody who is or was a Christian became one early in life. I myself became a Christian at 22. Had God not withheld judgment, you would not be reading this website right now!
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:18-32)
Example: Moses and Pharaoh
But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:15)
Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 8:19)
And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. (Exodus 8:32)
And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. (Exodus 9:7)
And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. (Exodus 9:12)
And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses. (Exodus 9:34-35)
But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go. (Exodus 10:20)
But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. (Exodus 10:27)
And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land. (Exodus 11:10)
And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. (Exodus 14:8)
This example occurred during the plagues that God brought upon the Egyptians so that the Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, would let the Hebrew people leave. Rather than put all of the plagues here, I placed the verses that are pertinent to the point I wish to make here. Note the trend that, in the beginning, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Toward the end, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. Rather than judge Pharaoh for his sins, God gave Pharaoh to his desires. In the end, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart so that Pharaoh went on a suicidal mission to try to retrieve the Hebrews.
Insight Vs Disobedience
If people have low insight, God allows them more grace before He judges people. Also, God measures disobedience in part by how long a person or group has been disobedient. For example, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, who had low insight, were disobedient for decades before God judged them. For more information on insight vs. disobedience, please see my page on insight vs. disobedience.
God Wishes to Win Everybody
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
God does win people late in life. I personally had a relative who lived well into his 80s, yet was not baptized until a few months before his death. Although not a huge percentage, many people came to Christ late in life.
God Would Have Difficulty Winning People
He Would Not Win People By Destroying His Followers
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. (Exodus 32:9-14)
Had God judged the Hebrew people here, who would want to follow Him? "If this is what God does to His followers, I think I will stay away. Far, far away."
This also would happen if God destroys wayward churches. Some churches even portray Jesus as a drag queen! However, if God destroys such churches, a Muslim, for example, would say, "If this is what the Christian God does, I think I will stay in my mosque."