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Godly Sorrow

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s joy over the repentance of the Corinthian Christians.  He now explains why this is so important.

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, fearphobia.  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

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2020 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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The Place of Repentance

As we continue in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church, we begin to see the back story of the situation.  In Paul’s first letter to this church, he was very strong in dealing with the sins of some of the members.

Later on, he sent Timothy as his representative, to see how things were progressing.  Now we’ll see the results of all of this.

For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn — conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.  He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7

It turns out that Timothy’s report to Paul was better than expected.  The apostle was greatly encouraged by the response of the Corinthian church.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it.  Though I did regret it — I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while — yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance.  For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us.
2 Corinthians 7:8-9

Paul’s joy was made complete because the Corinthian believers were brought to the place of repentance.  This had to be done in order for them to receive forgiveness.

Of course, we don’t like this word. It has a bad connotation for us. In Greek, it’s the word metanoia which means to change your mind. It also means to turn around.

“I was wrong. I want to change.”

Repentance is usually preceded by distress, sorrow, or sadness. We don’t like these feelings. In our relationships with other people, we would much rather use a word like apologize.

“If you apologize, I’ll forgive you.”

The fact is you don’t really want an apology. The Greek definition of the word apology is to give the reason. In that case, you might hear something like, “The reason I did that was that I hate you and I want you to be miserable.”

What you want from the other person is repentance.  It’s the same in our relationship with God.  He already knows why you did it.  He simply wants you to see that you were wrong and now you have a desire to change.

“I’m sorry over what I did.” (Godly sorrow) “If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t do it.” “I will never do that again.”

But we have to remember that with God, His forgiveness is given before repentance. It then takes repentance in order to position yourself to receive His forgiveness.

True repentance isn’t easy.  In my next post, we’ll see how Paul describes the road to repentance.

Question: How quick are you to go to God in repentance when needed?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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