Anger in the N.T.

Discussion in 'NT Epistles' started by Dekybo, Apr 12, 2019.

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  1. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    I heard a sermon on anger a few months ago from James 1:19-20 and I had determined to put away anger altogether based on what was said about verse 20, but I'm not sure how to reconcile this concept with 1) the immediate context of vs.19 (slow to anger) and 2) other verses in the N.T. such as Ephesians 4:26-27.
  2. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    I think one important distinction for human beings, is that there is a sinful anger, but there is also a righteous anger. Jesus Christ, the Godman, is our example of exhibiting righteous anger. This is particularly unique to the person God the son.

    So we should strive to fight against the temptation of sinful anger. Anger is one of the most difficult things to express without sin in my opinion .

    However, righteous anger can be a great tool in our daily fight again sin. Hope this helps, an excellent question!:detective:
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Mark 3:

    "And He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand.

    2 And they watched Him to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse Him.

    3 And He said unto the man who had the withered hand, “Stand forth.”

    4 And He said unto them, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?” But they held their peace.

    5 And when He had looked round about on them with ANGER, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said unto the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored whole as the other.

    6 And the Pharisees went forth and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.

    7 But Jesus withdrew Himself with His disciples to the sea."

    Jesus was angry and sinned not.

    If some things DON'T make us angry in this world, then there is something wrong with us.
  4. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    Would you both say that Jesus' anger did work towards the righteousness of God (stated in James 1:20). Is he the exception to this based on who he is?
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    He is our perfect model. It is, therefore, possible for us to be angry without sin. And we should, sometimes. Circumstances warrant it.
  6. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Jesus is our example. One cannot separate the divine and human natures. God the Son's "exception" as you put it, it the very reason we can ALWAYS look to Christ as our example, which includes HOW to be angry. Think of the book of Hebrews where we are told that Jesus our High Priest is one who CAN sympathize with us. Hebrews 4:15. When we see God the Son expressing anger, we as men can and should look to this for how we can exhibit the same attribute. Even when we consider that God in essence is Just and Righteous, anger is a natural and right outward expression towards injustice and evil.

    Jesus (in his human nature) experienced all of our bodily emotions (fear, hunger, sadness, grief, anger, joy) yet he knew no sin. Be confident that we can strive to follow that example, but be cautious in knowing that we like sheep are prone to wonder and we often respond in anger for the sinful reasons. Stephen Charnock says it well in my signature below.:detective:

    P.S. Keep the questions coming if you have more.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  7. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    You my enjoy the below exert, which I believe is from Spurgeon:

    Morning, July 13
    Go to Evening Reading

    “God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?”

    Jonah 4:9
    Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, “Doest thou well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “YES.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “NO.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature? Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” said he, “but the fruit will not be crabs.” We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image."

  8. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    As Jesus being our example, to what extent can we take this? For example, if a church misuses God's place of worship, is it okay for someone to flip tables and use a whip because Jesus did? I'm content with how I have this figured out in my own practical living, I just wonder how much someone could justify.
  9. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    Unless we find sin or error in what Jesus did, then the answer must be yes in his example. Cultural context plays a part to be clear. "Misuses" can get relative. Paul experienced "misuses", but we do not find an example of him breaking out the whip, though his verbal rebukes would be embarrassing to receive. It is clear however, from the apostles teachings to the church that we must NOT tolerate heresy, immorality, and wolves among the flock. There are "gatherings" which occur today that need the exact action (or an equivalent) of what Christ did with the whip. Imagine for moment how violent an Shepherd must be sometimes to defend a ravaging wolf from his beloved flock.:detective:

    One thing all congregations need to be on the lookout for is the trend in our christian circles of taking sin "LESS" seriously. One thing I dearly appreciate among the reformed is how serious sin is taken especially in the writings of our reformed forefathers.

    Just like all good and just things, we tend to quickly justify our sinful abuses before God and man instead of pausing and being quicker to relent.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  10. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you all for your help in aiding my understanding.
  11. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    As a practical matter, I think it's fairly easy for a person who is angry to distinguish between righteous anger and selfish, sinful anger. Despite the fact that sin gets mixed in with our righteous deeds, I know when I'm being angry for a godly reason and when I'm angry for a selfish reason (most often it's the latter), and they feel quite different to me. One feels like caring for others and godly submission, the other feels demanding and rebellious.

    They are so different it hardly feels right to use the same word for both. Usually, when I think of my "anger" I am thinking of my selfish, sinful anger. Righteous anger is a different category. "Why did I get angry just now?" is often a good diagnostic question. If it is some perceived injury to myself, it is not why Christ got angry.

    So Derek, if you have determined to put away anger altogether—thinking of it in those selfish-anger terms—you desire a good thing. You need not get hung up on the other side of anger. Putting away selfish anger will naturally result in an increase of righteous anger, and I imagine you will be able to tell the difference between them.
  12. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Jack, well said.
  13. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Our Lord was driving out moneychangers from a place that was His own; He was the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom the Jews delighted (or were supposed to) returning suddenly to His temple. He was perfectly within his right to drive uncouth things from His house, just as you would be to throw a lewd movie or harmful object from your own home.
    But we may not just enter, say, pentecostal or arminian or Romish churches willy-nilly and throw stuff around: we do not own those places.
  14. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    I would echo what @Ben Zartman says about a difference in authority.

    Also, I am not sure that this particular passage is intended to be prescriptive of how we should approach the situation. Zeal for right worship seems applicable, but literally going into a church and turning over tables? We probably should consider that this was a particular epoch, and also close to the inauguration of the NT. You referenced Paul, and we wouldn't follow his example of arguing in the synagogue.

    Lastly, we probably should be careful. Jesus is infallible. We are not. So what we perceive as wrong, we may ourselves be in error with. Case in point, this thread: There is a wide variety of opinion on who is right or wrong.

    And yes, there may be some practices that are clearly wrong, but even in that case, it probably is good to consider if our response is appropriate. We can correctly be concerned about something but approach in the wrong way (aka anyone have kids and responded poorly?:bueller:).
  15. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    The passage is a perfect example to ministers that they must be willing to purge and protect a church from heresy and gross immorality (in varying ways). I recommend reading Matthew Henry on the passage. No one has said we should not use wisdom in how we respond to error, as Christ showed great wisdom. Further it has already been expressed that anger is likely one of the hardest emotions to express without sin. Knowing this does not mean we abandon anger in every situation, but rather when a circumstance calls for it, one must proceed with anger.
  16. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Could you then perhaps clarify what you mean by "... that need the exact action (or an equivalent) of what Christ did with the whip."? I think we may be in agreement, depending on what you consider an equivalent action today.
  17. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    I think we are in agreement too. It might be helpful if an RE weighs in too. I think looking at the actions of a literal shepherd can be helpful. @Ben Zartman makes an excellent point, which brings a connection. The authority Jesus has over the church and the authority given to the “under-shepherds” has some temporal connections. What I mean is that it is possible that a minister can rightly express “righteous anger” to protect the flock. I doubt that ever looks like a “bull whip” in our American culture, but the example Jesus gives shows just how serious such gross sin should be dealt with. Again think of how an actual shepherd would have to fend off a wolf from killing and ravaging the flock.

    P.S. I am sure you have seen videos of some of the “holy laughter” church services. Personally I think those could definitely use some table flipping.
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