What does Ephesians 4:26 mean?
ESV: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
NIV: In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
NASB: BE ANGRY, AND yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
CSB: Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger,
NLT: And 'don’t sin by letting anger control you.' Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
KJV: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
The list of practical commands Paul began in verse 25 continues by tackling the topic of anger. Two principles are given. First, Paul teaches that anger is not necessarily wrong. Anger itself is not a sin; there are some things Christians ought to be angry about. God expresses anger (Exodus 4:14). Jesus showed controlled anger in turning over the tables of the tax collectors (John 2:13–17). However, uncontrolled anger quickly leads to doing wrong. Being angry is not an excuse to sin. Self–control is required to channel anger in a God–honoring way.
One way to control anger is given by Paul in his second command: don't let anger sit unresolved. The focus is not on the literal sunset, as if there's a certain time of day when all aggravations have to be ignored. Rather, the point is not to let time go by before dealing with anger. Believers are to make dealing with anger a priority. Otherwise, bitterness or the desire for vengeance can grow, leading to more sinful thoughts and actions. Anger can be a helpful emotion, yet must be handled carefully and quickly to avoid leading to sin. It is not meant to be "lived in," only "dealt with."
Ephesians 4:17–32 is a valuable, highly practical explanation of how to live out a Christian life. Paul notes the difference between a life wallowing under the power of sin, as opposed to a life thriving in the power of Christ. Christians are called on to ''put away'' the things which entangle unbelievers. This includes sins such as malice, slander, commotion, and bitterness. Instead, we should demonstrate a Christ-like attitude of love and forgiveness.
Truly understanding saving grace, as Paul explained in prior chapters, is the Christian's first motivation for living a godly life. Here, Paul encourages believers to live in way which honors that gift. All saved Christians are part of a single, unified family, part of the ''body'' of Christ. At the same time, different believers are given different talents. Some are called to positions of leadership and authority. All Christians should turn away from the ''old self'' we were prior to being saved. Paul's explanation of the ''new self'' includes some basic, practical steps.
The first half of Ephesians focuses mostly on doctrine, setting up ideas related to the Christian faith. The last half, beginning in chapter 4, puts those theories into practice. Paul begins by emphasizing the ultimate unity of all Christians, regardless of individual spiritual gifts. Paul also begins to explain how knowledge of the truths should translate into action. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 feature specific, real-world applications of Christianity to daily life.
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
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