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 NKJV)
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19–21 NKJV)
The English word “place” in Ephesians 4:27 is translated from the Greek topos that is the root for our word topography. We use this word to describe natural and artificial features of an area on a map. So when the scripture says “neither give place (topos)” it is saying to not give space or a place for the Devil; because he will utilize it.
When anger goes un-dealt with a beachhead develops for the enemy. This is a landing zone of sorts for the Devil to invade your life. Like a scene from WWII, the enemy lands on this “place,” forces his way up the beach, and starts making war in your spiritual life. He lands his freighters onto the tarmac (if you will) and scores of weapons begin pouring in. Before you even know what has happened, the enemy has established a stronghold to try to bring you down.
Think about the church at Corinth. There was so much compromise and sin, that it was cooling their love for one another. A close examination of Corinth reveals that they had a carnality problem that led to a love problem. The more carnal they behaved the more hostile the environment. In the last days, because iniquity shall abound (lawlessness), the love of many shall wax cold. This was happening at Corinth in microcosm. Why do you think they were suing each other in court? That type behavior is a million miles from the first several chapters of the book of Acts. Paul told them, For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults. Paul told the Corinthians to get their act together and fast. He tells them plainly, “I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare.” (2 Corinthians 13:2)
We do not know what kind of punishment Paul has in mind. He had already written to turn one man over to Satan. He told them plainly that their selfish and unloving refusal to discern the Lord’s body was making some of them sick in body, while others had actually died! That is a high price to pay for allowing the sun to go down on our anger. What was happening?
Jesus wanted us to know that we are going to be offended from time to time. He stated, Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Matthew 18:7) Paul followed up this line when he wrote, Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is caused to stumble, and I don’t burn with indignation? (2 Cor. 11:29 WEB) In fact, Paul tells the Romans, Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Here we have the Greek word topos being translated as “place” again. We must not give “place” to the Devil, and the way we do this is by “giving place” unto THE wrath. In the Greek the word wrath has the definate article. This is God’s wrath.
Our response? Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. God will show all parties involved where they were wrong. You keep a good spirit and don’t allow the enemy to form a beach head in your life. If the parties involved will listen to God and repent, things will go well. If not, as Matthew Henry once said, God is never at a loss for a means of punishing a rebellious people… His quiver is always full.”