Ephesians 4:26
Be you angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath:
4:25-28 Notice the particulars wherewith we should adorn our Christian profession. Take heed of every thing contrary to truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God's people are children who will not lie, who dare not lie, who hate and abhor lying. Take heed of anger and ungoverned passions. If there is just occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, and to reprove, see that it be without sin. We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil. Idleness makes thieves. Those who will not work, expose themselves to temptations to steal. Men ought to be industrious, that they may do some good, and that they may be kept from temptation. They must labour, not only that they may live honestly, but that they may have to give to the wants of others. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Alms, to be accepted of God, must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and industry. God hates robbery for burnt-offerings.Be ye angry and sin not - It has been remarked that the direction here is conformable to the usage of the Pythagoreans, who were bound, when there were any differences among them, to furnish some token of reconciliation before the sun set. Burder, in Ros. Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. It is implied here:

(1) that there "may" be anger without sin; and,

(2) that there is special danger in all cases where there is anger that it will be accompanied with sin. "Anger" is a passion too common to need any description. It is an excitement or agitation of mind, of more or less violence, produced by the reception of a real or supposed injury, and attended commonly with a desire or purpose of revenge. The desire of revenge, however, is not essential to the existence of the passion, though it is probably always attended with a disposition to express displeasure, to chide, rebuke, or punish; compare Mark 3:5. To a great extent the sudden excitement on the reception of an injury is involuntary, and consequently innocent. Anger is excited when a horse kicks us; when a serpent hisses; when we dash our foot against a stone - and so when a man raises his hand to strike us. The "object or final cause" of implanting this passion in the mind of man is, to rouse him to an immediate defense of himself when suddenly attacked, and before his reason would, have time to suggest the proper means of defense. It prompts at once to self-protection; and when that is done its proper office ceases. If persevered in; it becomes sinful malignity. or revenge - always wrong. Anger may be excited against a "thing" as well as a "person;" as well against an act as a "man." We are suddenly excited by a wrong "thing," without any malignancy against the "man;" we may wish to rebuke or chide "that," without injuring "him." Anger is sinful in the following circumstances:

(1) When it is excited without any sufficient cause - when we are in no danger, and do not need it for a protection. We should be safe without it.

(2) when it transcends the cause, if any cause really exists. All that is beyond the necessity of immediate self-protection, is apart from its design, and is wrong.

(3) when it is against "the person" rather than the "offence." The object is not to injure another; it is to protect ourselves.

(4) when it is attended with the desire of "revenge." That is always wrong; Romans 12:17, Romans 12:19.

(5) when it is cherished and heightened by reflection. And,

(6) When there is an unforgiving spirit; a determination to exact the utmost satisfaction for the injury which has been done. If people were perfectly holy, that sudden "arousing of the mind" in danger, or on the reception of an injury; which would serve to prompt us to save ourselves from danger, would exist, and would be an important principle of our nature. As it is now, it is violent; excessive; incontrollable; persevered in - and is almost always wrong. If people were holy, this excitement of the mind would obey the first injunctions of "reasons," and be wholly under its control; as it is now, it seldom obeys reason at all - and is wholly wrong. Moreover, if all people were holy; if there were none "disposed" to do an injury, it would exist only in the form of a sudden arousing of the mind against immediate danger - which would all be right. Now, it is excited not only in view of "physical" dangers, but in view of the "wrongs" done by others - and hence it terminates on the "person" and not the "thing," and becomes often wholly evil.

Let not the sun go down - Do not cherish anger. Do not sleep upon it. Do not harbor a purpose of revenge; do not cherish ill-will against another. "When the sun sets on a man's anger, he may be sure it is wrong." The meaning of the whole of this verse then is, "If you be angry, which may be the case, and which may be unavoidable, see that the sudden excitement does not become sin. Do not let it overleap its proper bounds; do not cherish it; do not let it remain in your bosom even to the setting of the sun. Though the sun be sinking in the west, let not the passion linger in the bosom, but let his last rays find you always peaceful and calm."

Margin sin

Sin. See Scofield Note: "Rom 3:23".

Be ye angry, and sin not,.... There is anger which is not sinful; for anger is fouled in God himself, in Jesus Christ, in the holy angels, and in God's people; and a man may be said to be angry and not sin, when his anger arises from a true zeal for God and religion; when it is kindled not against persons, but sins; when a man is displeased with his own sins, and with the sins of others: with vice and immorality of every kind; with idolatry and idolatrous worship, and with all false doctrine; and also when it is carried on to answer good ends, as the good of those with whom we are angry, the glory of God, and the promoting of the interest of Christ: and there is an anger which is sinful; as when it is without a cause; when it exceeds due bounds; when it is not directed to a good end; when it is productive of bad effects, either in words or actions; and when it is soon raised, or long continues: the Jews have a like distinction of anger; they say (e),

"there is an anger and an anger; there is an anger which is blessed above and below, and it is called blessed, as it is said Genesis 14:19 and there is an anger which is cursed above and below, as it is said Genesis 3:14''

And these two sorts are compared to "Ebal" and "Gerizzim", from the one of which proceeded blessing, and from the other cursing: anger for the most part is not only sinful, but it tends to sin, and issues in it; hence that saying of the Jews, , "be not angry, and thou wilt not sin" (f): the spring of it is a corrupt heart, it is stirred up by Satan, encouraged by pride, and increased by grievous words and reproachful language:

let not the sun go down upon your wrath; there is an allusion to Deuteronomy 24:10 it seems to be a proverbial expression; and the design of it is to show, that anger should not be continued; that it should not last at furthest more than a day; that when the heat of the day is over, the heat of anger should be over likewise; and that we should not sleep with it, lest it should be cherished and increased upon our pillows; and besides, the time of the going down of the sun, is the time of evening prayer, which may be greatly interrupted and hindered by anger. R. Jonah (g) has an expression or two like to this;

"let not the indignation of anyone abide upon thee; and let not a night sleep with thee, and anger be against any one:''

it should be considered, that as God is slow to anger, so he does not retain it for ever; and that to retain anger, is to gratify the devil; wherefore it follows,

(e) Zohar in Gen. fol. 104. 1.((f) T. Bab. Beracot fol. 80. 3.((g) Apud Capell. in Matt. v. 23.

{15} Be {k} ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down {l} upon your wrath:

(15) He teaches us how to bridle our anger in such a way that, even though our anger is fierce, yet it does not break out, and that it is without delay quenched before we sleep. And this is so that Satan may not take occasion to give us evil counsel through the wicked counsellor, and destroy us.

(k) If it so happens that you are angry, yet do not sin, that is, bridle your anger, and do not wickedly do that which you have wickedly conceived.

(l) Let not the night come upon you in your anger, that is, make atonement quickly, for all matters.

Be ye angry and sin not (ὀργίζεσθε καὶ μὴ ἁμαρτάνετε)

Cited from Psalm 4:5, after the Septuagint. Hebrew, stand in awe and sin not. Righteous anger is commanded, not merely permitted.

Wrath (παροργισμῷ)

Irritation, exasperation; something not so enduring as ὀργή anger, which denotes a deep-seated sentiment. See on John 3:36.

26. Be ye angry, and sin not—So the Septuagint, Ps 4:4. Should circumstances arise to call for anger on your part, let it be as Christ's "anger" (Mr 3:5), without sin. Our natural feelings are not wrong when directed to their legitimate object, and when not exceeding due bounds. As in the future literal, so in the present spiritual, resurrection, no essential constituent is annihilated, but all that is a perversion of the original design is removed. Thus indignation at dishonor done to God, and wrong to man, is justifiable anger. Passion is sinful (derived from "passio," suffering: implying that amidst seeming energy, a man is really passive, the slave of his anger, instead of ruling it).

let not the sun go down upon your wrath—"wrath" is absolutely forbidden; "anger" not so, though, like poison sometimes used as medicine, it is to be used with extreme caution. The sense is not, Your anger shall not be imputed to you if you put it away before nightfall; but "let no wrath (that is, as the Greek, personal 'irritation' or 'exasperation') mingle with your 'anger,' even though, the latter be righteous, [Trench, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]. "Put it away before sunset" (when the Jewish day began), is proverbial for put it away at once before another day begin (De 24:15); also before you part with your brother for the night, perhaps never in this world to meet again. So Jona, "Let not night and anger against anyone sleep with you, but go and conciliate the other party, though he have been the first to commit the offense." Let not your "anger" at another's wickedness verge into hatred, or contempt, or revenge [Vatablus].

Be ye angry, and sin not - Οργιζεσθε, here, is the same as ει μεν οργιζεσθε, If Ye be angry, do not sin. We can never suppose that the apostle delivers this as a precept, if we take the words as they stand in our version. Perhaps the sense is, Take heed that ye be not angry, lest ye sin; for it would be very difficult, even for an apostle himself, to be angry and not sin. If we consider anger as implying displeasure simply, then there are a multitude of cases in which a man may be innocently, yea, laudably angry; for he should be displeased with every thing which is not for the glory of God, and the good of mankind. But, in any other sense, I do not see how the words can be safely taken.

Let not the sun go down upon your wrath - That is: If you do get angry with any one, see that the fire be cast with the utmost speed out of your bosom. Do not go to sleep with any unkind or unbrotherly feeling; anger, continued in, may produce malice and revenge. No temper of this kind can consist with peace of conscience, and the approbation of God's Spirit in the soul.

4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not - That is, if ye are angry, take heed ye sin not. Anger at sin is not evil; but we should feel only pity to the sinner. If we are angry at the person, as well as the fault, we sin. And how hardly do we avoid it. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath - Reprove your brother, and be reconciled immediately. Lose not one day. A clear, express command. Reader, do you keep it? 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not. Quoted from Ps 4:4, Septuagint Version. Do not sin through anger is the thought. If circumstance arouse your indignation, do not be led astray.

Let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Let there be no long continuance of your wrathful mind.

Ephesians 4:25
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