God’s Wrath Flows From God’s Holiness

Second, God’s wrath is also a sovereign decision of God. (READ Hos. 11:9) Literally, the Hebrew reads, “I do not the fierceness of My anger, I turn not back to destroy Ephraim” (YLT). God gets angry by an act of the will of God. Anger is also a sovereign act of God. (READ Hos. 14:4) As God wills to love, so God wills not to be angry. God wills to be angry. God wills not to be angry.

Third, God’s wrath, however, is not a character of God, but an act of God’s holy character against sin. (READ Hos. 11:9) Note that the anger of God here is connected with the holiness of God. The reason is because Yahweh is God, and not man. Yahweh is the Holy One, in the midst of Israel. This statement recalls the presence of the Holy One in the Tabernacle, in the midst of the camp of Israel (cf. Lev. 11, 19).

“And the Lord said to Moses,

2    Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. . .

3    But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

4    He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on (Lev. 16:2-4).

God is so holy that no one can enter His presence in the inner room of the Tabernacle, except the High Priest, Aaron. But the High Priest can enter the inner room only once a year; and on condition that he brings a blood sacrifice for the mercy seat. Before he enters the room, he should take a bath. He should wear the right clothes. If he does not do all these, he remains unclean. Because he is unclean, he shall die. The death of the unclean thing is the wrath of God. Thus, the wrath of God flows from the holiness of God.

Because God is holy, God is against sin. Any sin against God offends the holiness of God. Thus, God is angry at sin because God is holy. The anger of God against sin therefore, is not a character of God, but a function of the holiness of God.

As D. A. Carson put it, where there is sin, there is the wrath of God. Where there is no sin, there is no wrath of God. But the love of God continues as a character of God. That is why God can love you all the time, and get angry with you some of the time.

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