Summary: What does this mean? Are supposed to be angry? Of course the phrasing is in Old English from the 1600's and newer translations put it this way, "In your anger do not sin." Is such a feat even possible? What does God's Holy Word say?
Be Ye Angry and Sin Not
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people - this has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
Today we will be reading from Ephesians 4:17-32
In the main Scripture we will be looking at today the apostle Paul is giving us instructions for Christian living.
The reason that my attention was drawn to this Scripture is that there is a quote by a preacher from the past named Leonard Ravenhill. And the quote goes like this, “If you attend church at all, you will undoubtedly hear a thousand sermons on ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Eph. 5:18) for every one sermon you hear preached on ‘Be ye angry, and sin not’.” (Eph.4:26).
Well, that last phrase “Be ye angry, and sin not” is found in Ephesians 4:26 KJV and if you trim the verse back a little more you get a singular command of “Be ye angry!”
Now, we know that there is great danger when you take a verse out of its context and even more danger when you lift a single fragment out of a verse that is taken out of its greater context.
So, let’s take a look and see if we are really supposed to be a gang of angry Christians! Ephesians 4:17-32
(Prayer for help)
As we read through the verses I hope you noticed that in more recent translations it does not say, “be ye angry” but it says, “in your anger”.
In verses 17-24 the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul is drawing a comparison between the lives of those who are unsaved and those who are saved.
This is how Paul describes those who do not know Jesus as their Savior, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Ephesians 4:18-19
On the other hand, we who are followers of Jesus were, “taught … to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
Now, pretty much smack dab in the middle of this section we see the verse that Leonard Ravenhill was alluding to, which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not”, or, “In your anger do not sin”.
Why would the people in the Ephesian church be angry?
Why would the people in any church be angry with each other?
Could it be that they were living like the unsaved? Could it be that they had not completely left behind their former way of life and that were not being made new in the attitude of their minds?
Here are some fragments from verses 25-32 with instructions on how Christians SHOULD behave.
Work and do something useful with your hands
Stop gossiping and running each other down
Get rid of bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander and malice which is the desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
When someone lies about us it may cause injury to our reputation or it may hurt our relationship with another person or it may cause a business deal to fall through. There are many ways that a lie about us could negatively affect our lives.
It might even cause us to become angry!
“In your anger do not sin …”
But … wouldn’t it feel sooooooo good to go and tell that liar off?
Wouldn’t it feel so good to find everyone who would listen and to tell them about the lie this person had told about you just so everyone would know what a liar that person is?
Wouldn’t it feel so good to tell an even bigger lie about THEM?
Wouldn’t it feel so good to scheme and to plot and to find a way to get back at that person so that sometime in some way when they least expect it; when they are most vulnerable you could get revenge?
Wouldn’t that feel great?
Well, it might … for a little while …