Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10
The first thing we need to see is that there are two types of sorrow or sadness. There are both godly sorrow and worldly sorrow.
The difference is the object of sorrow. Godly sorrow sees God as the injured party. I’m sorrowful because I sinned against the Lord.
Worldly sorrow has me as the object. I’m sorry that I got caught sinning. Or, just as bad, I’m sorry that I’m not as perfect as I thought I was.
Godly sorrow brings us closer to God and His provision for us – the ongoing work of salvation. Worldly sorrow produces death by causing us to shy away from God.
Look at the evidence of godly sorrow in a believer’s life.
See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.
2 Corinthians 7:11
These characteristics are how you can tell if you’re truly operating in godly sorrow. They describe the road to repentance.
The word Paul used for earnestness, is the Greek word from which we get our English word, speed. We want to deal with the matter quickly.
The phrase, eagerness to clear yourselves, is the Greek word for apology – to give a reason. However, this isn’t you trying to justify yourself. It’s an attempt to understand your own motives. It comes from a desire to clean up your thought life.
The word, indignation is important. It’s displeasure that moves you to action. You want to see the situation changed and you’re willing to do something about it.
The word, alarm, is actually the word, fear – phobia. This is the type of fear that causes you to change what you’re doing. It affects you. You’re afraid of doing something that could mess up your relationship with Christ.
Longing is an intense craving. You have an overwhelming desire to get your life back on track again. You don’t want to continue heading in the wrong direction.
The word, concern, is actually the word for zeal. It means that your emotions are getting worked up over it. You’re not going to rest until you make this problem right.
Finally, you want to see that justice is carried out – even if it’s against yourself. That means if you owe someone an apology, you give it. If some type of payment is needed, you do it.
All of these things working together bring us to the place of repentance. Never let the sun go down on unrepented sin. Allow the grace of God to forgive, clean, and make you right.
Question: How often do you find yourself in the place of repentance?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi