“…for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God”
for the wrath of man
The word “wrath” here is the same word as in the previous verse. It is the word for smoldering anger that holds a grudge against someone. The word for “man” is the word for mankind.
“A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again” (Proverbs 19:19).
does not produce the righteousness of God
The wrath of mankind cannot produce a dynamic Christian life. There is a contrast between the wrath of mankind and the righteousness of God. Sinful wrath does not operate in God’s system of justice.
There is a possibility of exercising wrath toward someone without sinning. Objective anger is the kind of anger God has toward injustice. It is right for us to be angry at the exploitation of others but if we allow subjective anger to take hold of us, we give the Devil a foothold in our life.
“‘Be angry, and do not sin‘: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Subjective anger does not work the righteousness of God.
We cannot walk with God with wrath burning in our hearts. We can walk with God with anger in our hearts if that anger is just. As God does not tolerate injustice neither should the Christian.
Sometimes, the difference between objective anger and subjective anger is very fine. We need to know ourselves if we indulge in anger. We rationalize to ourselves that our subjective anger is judicial anger. A husband can think he is just in his anger toward his wife and the wife may think that she is just but they both hold subjective anger toward each other.
We can even hold legitimate anger too long. Just anger can convert into unjust anger if we allow it to become resentment. This does not work the righteousness of God either.