May 12, 2011

Be Angry & Do Not Sin, part 1

The following is a portion of notes given from Brian Dempsey, the teaching elder at Christ Reformed Church, Lawrenceville GA. This study has impacted me and I just wanted to share. :-)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
Ephesians 4:26-27

This verse is quoted verbatim from Psalm 4:4.

What makes you angry?
How often do you get angry?
With whom do you get angry?
How do you express your anger?
Where do you get angry?
Are there places where your anger is restrained?

Be Angry - it is a command. Some see it as a "when/if" but it's better to see it as a positive recognition that anger is a God-given emotion that is not, in and of itself, bad. It's okay to be angry. You will get angry and you should get angry at those same things that anger a holy God.

Anger is (not) in itself sinful, but . . . it may be the occasion for sin. The issue of self-control is the question of how we deal with anger. Violence, tantrums, bitterness, resentment, hostility, and even withdrawn silence are all sinful responses to anger. ~R.C. Sproul
And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
Mark 3:5

Do Not Sin - Here is the qualification. Notice, the command is not, "Do not be angry." We are not commanded to destroy our anger, but to sanctify it.

Pride is one chief cause of undue anger. It is because men are proud, and exalt themselves in their own hearts, that they are revengeful, and are apt to be excited, and to make great things out of little ones that may be against themselves. Yea, they even treat as vices things that are in themselves virtues, when they think their honor is touched, or when their will is crossed. And it is pride that makes men so unreasonable and rash in their anger, and raises it to such a high degree, and continues it so long, and often keeps it up in the form of habitual malice . . . If men sought not chiefly their own private and selfish interests, but the glory of God and the common good, then their spirit would be a great deal more stirred up in God's cause then in their own; and they would not be prone to hasty, rash, inconsiderate, immoderate, and long-continued wrath, with any who might have injured or provoked them; but they would in a great measure forget themselves for God's sake, and from their zeal for the honor of Christ. The end they would aim at, would be, not making themselves great, or getting their own will, but the glory of God and the good of their fellow-beings. ~Jonathan Edwards, The Spirit of Love the Opposite of An Angry or Wrathful Spirit

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