Having read what I consider to be the definitive works on God’s holiness (Packer's Knowing God, and Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy), I was skeptical when I saw The Holiness of God listed as a “classic”. Nevertheless, I appreciated Sproul’s very articulate exploration of this topic. He beautifully dispels the myth that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath and that the God of the New Testament is a God of love. He bravely tackles hard questions about God’s harshness in his chapter called “Holy Justice”. And he asserts that the reason we are shocked by God’s judgment is because we are so accustomed to his overwhelming grace.
“The issue is not why does God punish sin, but why does He permit the ongoing human rebellion? What prince, what king, what ruler would display so much patience with a continually rebellious populace? ...We forget rather quickly that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, to give us time to be redeemed. Instead of taking advantage of this patience by coming humbly to Him for forgiveness, we use this grace as an opportunity to become more bold in our sin… The supreme folly is that we think we will get away with our revolt.” (p. 117)
Furthermore, if we want to talk about injustice we have only to go to the Cross. God’s most “unjust” act, Sproul affirms, is not when he punishes men, but when He allowed His own pure, holy Son to suffer a horrible death in our place. All in all, this book provides much food for thought and will give you a greater appreciation for the daily grace we receive from the hand of a holy, loving, God.