YHWH is slow in anger and great in power, and YHWH will be no means clear the guilty. His way is in the whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. (Nahum 1:3 ESV)
What does it mean that God will ‘by no means clear the guilty,’ especially in light of his ‘authority on earth to forgive sins?’
I solve this problem by believing that God’s offices are not divided, nor his attributes separate. It is the love of God that drives him to leave the guilty uncleared, for only by submitting the creation to futility for its ruin can he keep it for eternal life.
In this light, the atonement of Christ is not so much a vicarious redemption as the utmost display of the Father’s character, who loved the sinner before his reform. The Father loves the sinner, and he proved it in the character of Jesus, not counting our trespasses against us but entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. The Father will not have it that the guilty are cleared, and therefore has sent forth his Spirit that by him we may put to death the deeds of the body and live.