“…put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:24-27.
Ephesians 4:25 and a portion of verse 24 have been included for context.
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath…” Ephesians 4:26.
Oddly enough we are shown here that it is possible to be angry and not sin. The reason that this seems so unlikely is that men are angry nearly all the time and this strongest of all passions gets a lot of people killed, causes divorces, and ruins the lives of children. This is a short list, you might add more.
Men are made in the image of God and have His characteristics, anger is one of them, yet men are fallen, God is not, so His anger is tempered with love, compassion, and mercy.
In other words, God is balanced in His emotions; men are not, so anger is usually out of control. This should not be so with the Christian.
Christians have no business coming home to a wife who has worked hard all day and railing on her for not doing the dishes. Christians have no business striking their wife, or she her husband.
Christians have no business being angry with their children because they do not understand something. Nor do they have any business punishing their children because they feel like it.
Christians have no business acting like fools.
“An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.” Proverbs 29:22.
“As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Proverbs 26:21.
“A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays [lessens or alleviates] contention.” Proverbs 15:18.
“Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19.
“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9.
“Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” Proverbs 22:24-25.
“A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.” Proverbs 14:16-17.
“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3.
“Scoffers set a city aflame, but wise men turn away wrath. If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace.” Proverbs 29:8-9.
“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” Proverbs 29:11.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32.
“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” Proverbs 19:11.
When it comes to anger, be imitators of God.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:8-14.
O that we would all remember that we are but dust, perhaps our grace would flow out to others more freely.
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9.
So we are told to be angry but not to sin, there are some things that are not right, and some people who say or do something inadvertently or maliciously, so anger happens, but we are told not to let the sun go down on our wrath.
Wrath here means indignation, or exasperation, these matters need to be settled quickly as possible before they fester. This is why we are not to let the sun go down on our wrath.
When a matter is not settled as soon as possible it begins to fester on the part of both parties, and then the devil steps in and starts to divide, families, friends, churches, and parents and children. He does this because it works.
Do not allow something to become a handle that the devil can grab onto. With prayer you can defeat him and destroy his power over a situation.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
As for the atheist, the idolater or the thief for whom Christ died, all are forgiven completely when they accept Him as their Savior. It is then out of love for Jesus that they go on to live a productive life.
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” Ephesians 4:28.
What a precious verse, an opportunity for the thief to show his love for his Savior by helping those in need. If more brethren would do this, many folks in need would have their burdens eased.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29.
The Greek word translated corrupt here can be defined as, defiling speech, and to take it further, putrid or rotten speech. Christians are free to laugh, kid around, talk about sports, politics, movies, whatever, but often our conversations slide into putrid, rotten speech.
When we find ourselves descending into filth or idle prattle, it is time to stop running off at the mouth.
Speech that is good for necessary edification means conversation that edifies, builds up, or lifts up those to whom you are speaking.
Again, some folks think this is a matter of walking around, hands clasped to their breast, looking down at the rabble in a holier than thou attitude and saying, “Yes, yes, bless you. May my God smite thine enemies, I will pray for you.” Leave that to the hypocrites. Always, always, be yourself in Christ.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:15-17.
Our hearts can be so sinful, yet as much as lies within us, let us not grieve the Holy Spirit of promise who is our comforter, teacher, and guarantee that we will be with Jesus some day.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30.
The book of James puts this harshly, calling Christians whose hearts wander adulterers and adulteresses. A term used by God to describe Israelites who committed adultery against Him by worshipping false gods.
The term adultery is a powerful word used to describe how hurtful it is to God when His blood bought children stray from Him. This hits home because many of us have experienced it first hand or have loved ones who have gone through the horror of it. It hurts God just as much.
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?” James 4:4-5.
“The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” is certainly grieved by our worldly actions. There are many times we stumble and fall, let us confess them to God, get up, and press on in Jesus, in whom we have complete forgiveness of sin.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” Ephesians 4:31.
Again, we have a list of things which have no part in the Christian life.
The word translated from the Greek as bitterness has the meaning of bitter hatred.
Wrath is hot anger, passion.
Anger, is given as the strongest of all passions.
Clamor, is a crying, an outcry, literally from the sound of raven’s cries, it is the tumult of controversy.
Evil speaking is slander, railing, speech injurious to another’s good name, translated from the word blasphemia, blasphemy, a word used to defame God.
Malice is a desire to injure; people who design computer viruses to destroy the computers of folks innocent of any ill will toward them are malicious. Malice is wickedness.
And finally, let us give serious consideration to the closing verse of Ephesians chapter four. My wife used to recite this to our young son when he argued with other children.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.
To be kind to one another is to be mild, pleasant; and tenderheartedness is to be compassionate. These are the characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Such a huge debt has been forgiven us, how small a thing to ask us to forgive one another.
Christ’s Body, Ephesians 4:26-32 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 3-30-16, updated on 7-7-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.