Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ephesians 4:25-27 comments: lying and anger that won't quit

25  Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Zechariah 8:16  These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates:

Recall the verse in Colossians regarding putting off the old man.

Colossians 3:9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

There are many reasons why people lie to each other; to hide a misdeed or gain an advantage, because they are insecure, or because the truth doesn’t seem good enough.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that He is the truth. There is no room for lies and deceptions in the Christian walk. This doesn’t mean we have to be cruel and thoughtless but it does mean that we must always be truthful with each other.

 26  Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

In the Colossians verses about the contest between the old man and the new man we are told to discard both of these emotional conditions.

Colossians 3:8 ¶  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Anger is a quick flashpoint of temper or indignation. Wrath is a continual expression of anger that doesn’t abate.

Genesis 49:7  Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

Proverbs 27:4  Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

Isaiah 13:9  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Like vengeance, they are justifiable expressions of God the Father’s wrath not suitable for the believer who is to humble himself before Christ. Anger is an expression of God’s outrage at sin and rebellion while wrath is an expression of God’s judgment on both.

Psalm 7:11  God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

2Chronicles  24:18  And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

While anger and wrath are so close together that their traits are often indistinguishable in Scripture the point is that they are to be eschewed by the Christian. When you are angry and the feeling comes on you, you will sin by dwelling on it and letting it build and stew. Don’t focus on your anger. Don’t harbor the ill feelings. Let go of the anger before it becomes wrath.

I’ve known people whose lives were lived in a state of wrath. Some of them are full of a seething rage at their own circumstances, failures, and shortcomings that they wind up thinking of or actually committing suicide either by direct actions or by alcohol or drugs over time. Others live a life of wrath because other people and circumstances don’t bend to their will at all times. These things are sin and a sign of their willful rebellion against God, even if they are saved by believing. They do not show a trust in God or display the Fruit of having the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

One clear sign that you, Christian, have a problem in your walk with Christ, a barrier to the blessings He wants to rain down on you, is how quickly you become angry and how long it lasts when you do. Repent and pray for mercy. No matter how you feel God has blessed you in other respects you are missing something vital in your faith. Wrath will destroy your family relationships and wreck your health.

27  Neither give place to the devil.                    

As well as an additional thing not to do or think,” neither,” is used a couple of times as if Paul is saying, “don’t even,” or, “not even.”

In Paul’s long opinion about how the rule of the Corinthian church that their women keep their hair long was justified (we know now from history that there were a thousand short-haired prostitutes at the nearby Temple of Aphrodite in Acro-Corinth) he says that if anyone doesn’t agree it wasn’t an issue in churches elsewhere. Here, “neither,” seems to be meaning, “not even.”

1Corinthians 11:16  But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Again, when speaking of not requiring Titus to be circumcised he seems to mean, “not even.”

Galatians 2:3  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:

In this verse in Ephesians 4:27 Paul is making a definitive statement that our wrath and our lying to each other (and presumably to ourselves) work for Satan’s ends and not God’s. When you permit either one you are not submitting to the Holy Spirit. Next he will go on to name other sins that glorify Satan and not God in us…..

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