“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26).
Putting on the new man is to “be ye angry, and sin not” (Eph. 4:26-27).
- To be angry, and sin not means that one’s anger is not to be sinful, fleshly anger. There is a righteous anger against sin and error. See Mr. 3:5 where Jesus was angry for the hardness of their hearts. But fleshly anger is always wrong. It is associated with bitterness, clamor, evil speaking, and malice (Eph. 4:31). “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas. 1:20).
- To be angry, and sin not is to deal with anger in such a way that you do not sin. Many sins are committed in the heat of anger. “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression” (Pr. 29:22). “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly” (Pr. 14:17). “A wrathful man stirreth up strife” (Pr. 15:18). To be angry, and sin not means to not allow anger to control me and to cause me to do something wrong such as to speak unseemly, to harm someone, or to take my own vengeance. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Ro. 12:19). David’s anger almost caused him to kill Nabal and his entire family (1 Sa. 25:13-39). The anger of Dinah’s brothers caused them to destroy and entire town (Ge. 34:7-31). Jacob cursed this anger (Ge. 49:6-7). Moses’ anger at Israel caused him to disobey God by striking the rock (Nu. 20:10-13).
- To be angry, and sin not means that I don’t nurse anger. This is explained in the same verse: “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” I must deal with anger wisely according to God’s Word. “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger” (Pr. 19:11). I must deal with my anger before God in confession and in beseeching His help in the matter. “Resentments are not to be harbored beyond the day in which they begin. It may not always be possible to straighten out the problem with the other person before nightfall, but at the very least one can settle the matter of his own heart attitude before retiring. As the psalmist said in the clause following the one Paul quoted, “Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still” (Ps 4:4b)” (Everyman’s Bible Commentary).
- To hold onto anger is to “give place to the devil.” Anger in the flesh is the devil’s playground. He uses it for his own evil purposes. It gives him a “place” or foothold in one’s life. “Anger which is not curbed lays the person open to irrational and evil suggestions, and Satan is quick to grasp the opportunity. Inasmuch as the devil is always on the prowl to capture men (1 Pe 5:8), Christians certainly should not make his efforts any easier. Unrestrained anger does this very thing. It allows Satan to work through the ‘old man’ and entice us to sin because so often our anger is not righteous. When it is merely an emotional outburst, it escapes the control of the mind, and the Spirit which influences it, and it is this which is continually being renewed as believers grow in grace (Eph. 4:23). The devil needs only the slightest place to begin operations, and from that point is fully able to produce the utmost havoc. How many Christians have lost their testimony as they have allowed the evil one to exploit their anger into the most unseemly viciousness!” (Everyman’s Bible Commentary).
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Way of Life Literature
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