The Expository Files


Be Angry and Sin Not

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In Eph 4:26 we read, “Be angry and sin not; let not the sun go down on your wrath.”  Some people believe that it is never appropriate for a Christian to be angry. Anger is thought of as a negative thing. But the Scriptures show that God is capable of anger (Rom. 1:18). So, anger itself is not inherently evil.

When Jesus was accused of breaking the Sabbath, the Bible says that He looked upon His accusers with anger (Mark 3:5). Jesus had not broken God’s Sabbath law; He had only ignored some human customs. He had healed a man and the thing that made Him angry was that these cold hearted people could only think of accusing Him. The fact is, there are things that ought to make us angry.

If it is not a sin to be angry on every occasion, then when does anger become sin?

1) When anger is not controlled, it is sin when it leads to abusive speech or conduct (Col. 4:6). No provocation justifies acting in a sinful manner - anger or not, sin is still sin.

2) When anger is allowed to turn to bitterness, it is sin. Righteous anger can accomplish good, but bitterness destroys peace and happiness. It does only harm.

3) When anger is directed against the truth, it is sin. Paul once asked, “Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?” (Col. 4:16).

We certainly must be careful when we are angry, not because anger itself is necessarily sinful, but because of what things may come out of it.

We worry a lot about our appearance. We want to look good to others, so we try to wear attractive clothes, comb and brush our hair and so forth. Many of us spend much time and money - maybe too much - so we can impress others by the things we wear.
But how do I look to God? What does He see when He looks at me? Be sure that He does not see us the way others do. If you could look at a picture of yourself as the Lord sees you, you would not see what you usually see in a picture. You wouldn’t see your hair and eye color, or whether your nose is too big or just right. What would you see?
The Scriptures say, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7).
The Lord looks at us differently than how we usually look at ourselves. That is why a lowly fisherman can be counted as great by God, while a king regarded as foolish. God’s photograph of  us is absolutely accurate. It shows the inner person. It brings to light such characteristics as love or hate, our generosity or selfishness; our faith or indifference; our thankfulness or our ingratitude. We should make certain that God’s picture of us is attractive - by yielding our hearts to Him and becoming godly from within and expressing this spiritual strength through the deeds we do from the heart.
By Jon W. Quinn
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From Expository Files 22.4; April 2015