What difference does it make for your anger that Jesus died on the cross?

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Personally, I believe that’s a question a believer should regularly ask concerning any sin in their life? What differences does Jesus’ death make with regards to my lust, bitterness, lying, pride, and others sin? The answer to that question is crucial to making no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14) and walking in holiness (1 Peter 1:16).

A regular part of my devotional time with the Lord is Edward Welch’s book, A Small Book About A Big Problem: Meditations On Anger, Patience, and Peace. His insight is deeply encouraging, as well as convicting, as I seek to get to the “root” of my anger.

A believer who has been immersed in the Scriptures is familiar with Paul’s words “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). But how does this inform and empower me to live a life of peace and not anger? Here are some answers to that question:

  • Jesus died to absorb the wrath of God that I deserved (Galatians 3:13). Being shielded from God’s wrath is the reason for my peace, and it compels me to shield others from mine.
  • Jesus died so that I could boast in weakness (2 Corinthians 13:3-4). Real strength does not look overpowering but is gentle and sounds inviting.
  • Jesus died so that I am no longer a slave to anger but can stand against it (Revelation 1:5). Anger controls and masters us. It promises power and control but delivers slavery. In Jesus’ death I, too, died to the taskmaster of anger. I have gone from being a slave to being a child freed in order to live for the Father. In this freedom, I can say “no” to anger.

Welch writes further,

Apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus, anger makes sense. Without him, we would be along and condemned. Life would be a struggle for survival of the fittest, and then we would sink into the dark gloom of death. Only anger, fear, and depression would make sense. But the truth is that we were created by God, we are his offspring, we belong to him and, though we have turned our backs to him, he has, in love, brought us back to himself to both love and live with him. Anger is part of the old life that is ebbing away as we embrace the new…In light of the real story, we say, “Jesus, I need you, and “thank you.” These are the opposites of anger.

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