For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. ~2 Corinthians 7:10
Three of the most important words that need to be in our vocabulary are “I am sorry!” It is an expression that reflects our remorse and repentance for something hurtful that we may have committed against someone else. It is a key for requesting forgiveness and restoration of fellowship with the person who was hurt. In our devotion this morning, we see an important lesson on what true repentance and godly sorrow is.
We see the painful REBUKE.
Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to rebuke the church at Corinth regarding many sins and doctrinal errors that occurred after he left the church. One of the major sins he had to confront the church about was a terrible sin of immorality (see 1 Cor. 5). A brother in the church was living in open sin, and the church was not taking action to correct this problem. Paul rebuked the sinning member, the church leaders, and the church membership for this sin. Paul would have come personally to deal with this issue, but was providentially hindered. Writing the letter was the only means he had to help them address and remedy this issue.
We see the prickly REALIZATION.
Paul’s letter was received with a spirit of meekness and humility. Both the church at Corinth and the sinning brother realized that he was living in open and unconfessed sin. It was a bad testimony to the Corinthian community. God used Paul’s letter to stir all parties on this subject. For Paul, he was grieved that he had to deal with it. For the sinning brother and the Corinthians, they were sorry that it was not addressed and dealt with when it first became known. We must remember that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
We see the penitent REPENTANCE.
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” Paul described the church and the sinning brother’s response as sorrow to repentance. True repentance is always preceded by godly sorrow. It is coming under great conviction by the Holy Spirit that we have sinned against God and other people, and have caused a bad testimony against the cause of Christ. Godly sorrow is when we are under deep conviction that a serious wrong needs to be made right. When godly sorrow leads to repentance, there is godly fear and a zeal to make things right immediately. When we repent of a grievous sin, we also realize that there is a consequence to our sin that we must accept.
We see the passionate RESULT.
“Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.” There was comfort! Paul was comforted that the church accepted responsibility for what happened and put into action the steps in making things right. There was closure! Titus was filled with great joy in seeing the sincerity of the Corinthians. The sinning brother repented and was being restored. Everything about this situation turned out right for the glory of God.
Be careful about becoming hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Let godly sorrow work in your heart and lead to a spirit of repentance. It is when we come to this measure of faith that we can comprehend and be recipients of the comfort God gives, in spite of the sin and its shame. Always be ready to say with a sorrowful heart, “I am sorry!”
Have a comforted God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Kings 1-3