WHY DOESN’T GOD SEND THE WICKED TO HELL RIGHT NOW?
BY CARL A. TRAPANI
The question of why God allows wickedness to continue is perplexing. Here are Bible reasons for God’s hesitation to bring the wicked to judgment.
The question asked in Job 21:7 “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?” has perplexed human beings from the time of Job and is still with us today. Why doesn’t God just get rid of the devil and send him and all wicked people to hell right now?
1. COSMIC CONFLICT First, let me say that there is a cosmic conflict going on that involves much more than what you and I can naturally perceive. This conflict began in heaven when Lucifer defied God and dragged one third of the angels into his army. This battle spilled over onto the earth in the garden of Eden when Satan won his first victory against God through human beings. The battle continues today. In Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul tells Christians they are wrestling with “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
This conflict includes the intervention of angels who come to fight on our behalf. Daniel encountered this in Babylon when the angel told him how he had to struggle with a demonic prince to be able to get to him with a message from God (Daniel 10:1-14).
While the devil is boldly fighting against God and His people, his time is limited. The cosmic conflict has a determined end. Satan and all those that follow him are destined for destruction. It’s just a matter of time.
2. THE PATIENCE OF GOD God’s patience was displayed by having Noah preach and warn the world of impending judgment for over 100 years and not one soul outside of his family responded to the warnings.
God demonstrates his patience through people like Abraham, who in his early life was a cowardly liar, but who became a great man of faith as his relationship with God deepened. Change requires time. God gives people time to change. He is very patient and longsuffering with us. He waits for the wicked to change.
3. THEY LIVE THAT SOME OF THEM MIGHT BECOME MONUMENTS OF MERCY. The New Testament describes how Saul persecuted Christians, hounding them out, putting them to death. Surely the Christians of that time must have asked, “Dear Lord, why don’t You stop his mad career?” But God in His silence was saying, “Just be patient, I have plans for him.” And one day on the Damascus Road, God struck him down, converted him, and turned him into the “chief apostle.” Then Paul could say, “I am a monument of His saving grace.”
Many a great Christian was a great sinner before they were saved. God hesitates to send people to hell because He knows many of them will be saved when they hear the Gospel. It’s just a matter of time for them. God knows the end from the beginning, and knows who to wait for.
4. THEY LIVE TO HAVE MORE TIME FOR REPENTANCE Juvenal, the Roman poet said, No man ever became very wicked all at once.” He was right. Wickedness takes time, and God gives all men time – a certain amount of time. No one is certain how much time they have – death is always nearby. That is the area of risk everyone faces. Death–and after death-the judgment.
God waits for people to be saved. He is patient, and longsuffering of our failings. He allows wickedness as a contrast to His righteousness. God allows us to choose between good and evil. He has provided a wonderful way to be delivered from sin and evil deeds through the blood and saving grace of Jesus Christ. But the choice is ours.
God permits the wicked, but not forever. Sir Thomas Fuller (1608-1661 )
He is giving us one opportunity after another to repent, and be saved from the punishments reserved for the wicked. One day we’ll have our last chance. How patient God is with us! One day His patience will end. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy”. (Prov. 29:1).
Rev. Carl A. Trapani, editor of the WDN, pastors the Apostolic Faith Church in Eau Claire, Wl. He is also a psychotherapist at Heinz Psychological Services. For counseling information call (715) 834-3171.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE WISCONSIN DISTRICT NEWS, JUNE 1998, PAGE 11. THEIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.