Talks By Ed Tarkowski


Anger / Wrath - A feeling of being very annoyed and wanting to fight back at a person or thing that hurts one or is against one; rage.

Holman's Bible Dictionary

. . . . Human wrath is always suspect. We are instructed by Paul not to take revenge (Rom. 12:19), nor to "let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26 NRSV). Fathers should not provoke children to wrath (Eph. 6:4). We must rid ourselves of "all such things--anger, wrath, malice" (Col. 3:8 NRSV). The Old Testament psalms of lament such as Psalms 53; 137 show how humans can freely express their anger to God.

Psa 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

To realize this freedom from the domination of wrath, the gracious work of the Holy Spirit is needed to sanctify and cleanse the heart of the attitudes and feelings of wrath and anger. Romans 8 pictures the mind filled by the Spirit which is "life and peace" (Rom. 8:6 NRSV). Such a spirit is no longer a slave of anger and wrath but is yielded "to righteousness for sanctification" (Rom. 6:19 NRSV). There is no need to continue in the fleshly spirit of wrath for the Holy Spirit provides inner peace (Phil. 4:4-8).

Some Admonitions To The Christian

Scripture admonishes the Christian in the following verses concerning anger:

Eph 4:31 KJV "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"

Col 3:8 KJV "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."

Col 3:21 KJV "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."

The Anger Of Jesus

Jesus got righteously anger at times. In Mark 3 we read,

Mark 3:5 KJV "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."

What was the source of Jesus' anger? Grief. He had spoken to them over and over again, yet they did not hear nor understand. He healed wherever He went, yet they would not believe. He was grieved for that and that grief was released in anger, not because He didn't love them, but because He did. It came the point that Jesus had to return to the Father, and Israel still wouldn't listen or understand. Their temple came down, opening the way for Paul to say,

Rom 10:19 KJV "But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you."

Holman's Bible Dictionary

The Lord Knows How To Be Righteously Angry

WRATH, WRATH OF GOD The emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice, often translated "anger," "indignation," "vexation," and "irritation." Both humans and God express wrath.

Old Testament The wrath of God appears in the Old Testament as a divine response to human sin and injustice. When the Israelites complained to God at Taberah, "the anger of the Lord blazed hotly" (Num. 11:10 RSV). Later, God reminded the people of various such experiences and warned,

"Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness." (Deut. 9:7 NRSV)

Idolatry became the occasion for divine wrath also. Psalm 78:56-66 describes Israel's idolatry: God was "full of wrath," "utterly rejected Israel," and "gave his people to the sword." The wrath of God is consistently directed towards those who do not follow His will. (Deut. 1:26-46; Josh. 7:1; Ps. 2:1-6) Historical calamity and disaster were to be expected when God was stirred to anger. God was wrathful over Saul's disobedience:

"Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, ... the Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines" (1 Sam. 28:18-19 NRSV).

The Old Testament often speaks of a "day" coming in the future which will be "The great day of the Lord ... a day of wrath" (Zeph. 1:14-15 NRSV). Isaiah spoke of "the day of the Lord" as "cruel, with wrath and fierce anger" (Isa. 13:9 NRSV) This day referred to the present day of judgment in history, as when the Assyrians conquered Israel; but it also calls to mind a future day of final judgment at the end time when all will be called to give account to God. The wrath of God was viewed in fear and awe. Yet God provided a way to gain divine favor. Repentance turns God's wrath away from the sinner. The psalmist reminded God that He had in times past forgiven the iniquity of His people and withdrawn all of His wrath (Ps. 85:1-3). Jesus affirmed the Old Testament teaching about such a day. He predicted a day that will come at an unknown time when "the earth will pass away" (Mark 13:31; compare the entire chapter).

New Testament

Jesus' teaching supports the concept of God the Father as a God of wrath who judges sin and justice. The story of the rich man and Lazarus shows the rich man in hades in torment and anguish (Luke 16:19-31). The story definitely speaks of the judgment of God and implies that there are serious consequences for the sinner. In Luke 13:3,5 (NRSV) Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you will all perish." John 15:1-11 warns that the unfruitful branches are to be "gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned" (John 15:6 NRSV; compare Matt. 3:7). God's wrath is restrained, held back from its full and final effect. John 3:36 (NRSV) records Jesus' saying "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God's wrath." The grace of God, His unmerited favour, holds the full effect of wrath back at the same time that wrath "rests upon" the sinner. In Romans 2:5 (NRSV), Paul spoke to those who do not repent of their sin, warning that "by your hand and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed." The image of wrath being restrained for some future release is truly awe inspiring. However, the Christian has no fear of this day, since 1 Thessalonians says that Jesus "rescues us from the wrath that is coming." (1 Thess. 1:10 NRSV). The instruments of God's wrath may be angels (Rev. 15:1,7), nations, kings, and rulers as well as natural catastrophes.


What needs to be added to this is a word about when we encounter someone who gets angry with us when we know what we are saying is right, and what we say is out of concern for them. When we do speak to someone about error, we can expect at least two reactions:

  1. An admittance, followed by a repentance and change.

  2. Anger, usually as a self-justification for doing wrong and as a defense of one's sin because one does not want to change. Anger could also be a prideful response, not wanting to admit one is wrong. When anger grows into rage, it is often a defense against lies and deceits being uncovered, such as in Psalm 2:

  3. Psa 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, . . .

If one is presented with something that is not correct, there is no reason for an angry reaction because truth defends itself. What usually follows when a fact is presented and the person presenting a wrong is correct in their observation is accusations, blame and eventually a shutdown where the other person just stews in his anger. Sometimes they will just leave, muttering innuendos under their breathe. This is a typical escape mechanism from having to admit one's sin and avoid repentance.

James said,

James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Sometimes the one in the right gets angry, but wrath and anger do not work righteousness, even when the person is correct. It is the Holy Spirit who works God's righteousness, and it is His working in that situation that brings repentance. But whether the person in the wrong repents or not, Paul said not to let the sun go down on our anger. We are to forsake it, and continue to pray for the person. Overall, it is better to ask the Holy Spirit to keep us from anger, and to remain calm in all situation with self-control. I do not mean to condone anger in the Christian.

Paul certainly wouldn't list getting angry as a qualification for Bishop, but said he said a Bishop should one who gets "not soon angry":

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

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