Q. You’ve said that anger is a sin even when we think it’s justified and referenced Ephesians 4:26-27. My interpretation of these verses is that anger can lead to sin, but anger itself is not a sin. The scene when Jesus cleanses the temple of the money changers in John 2 comes to mind, as Jesus certainly seems to be angry. This would imply sin in Jesus which scripture says is not the case. Can you please elaborate?
A. Here are the Lord’s words on the subject: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matt. 5:21-22).
In Matt. 5:27-28 He made the same comparison between a lustful look and adultery. In both these cases the Lord was not saying the thought can lead to the sin but that it’s where the sin originates. In Matt. 15:19 He said it’s our evil thoughts that make us “unclean”. Every body gets angry now and then.
In many cases, we can prevent ourselves from expressing our anger outwardly, but we can’t keep ourselves from having the thoughts, and I don’t think the Lord expects us to. His point was that it’s impossible to keep ourselves from sinning, because even our thoughts condemn us.
It’s why we can never attain a level of righteousness sufficient to meet God’s requirements. It’s why we need a Savior and it’s why He gave His life to save us. Otherwise we would be hopelessly lost.
Trying to justify ourselves by comparing our actions to those of the Lord Jesus is never a good idea. He is not a man with a fallen nature. He is God in the flesh and His anger is always righteous, but it was especially so in John 2:13-16 where His Holy Temple was the setting for greed and corruption in the name of religion.