Godly Sorrow Leading to Repentance

2 Corinthians 7: 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

What causes you to tear up?  I’m not ashamed to say that I often wear my emotions on my sleeve.  There are times where I wish it was not so, such as when I am preaching or sharing my testimony, but I guess that is just the way I was made.  While movies don’t lead me to wailing, I have teared up a few times as a result of some films.  One movie genre that gets me more than others is sports movies.  Perhaps it’s because I can relate to the passion of sports, or because most are based on true stories.  Such movies include:  42, Coach Carter, Facing the Giants, Invictus, Radio, Remember the Titans, Rudy, Soul Surfer, The Blind Side, The Rookie, We are Marshall, and my all-time favourite Chariots of Fire.  Now there is nothing wrong with getting emotional about movies, getting choked up when we view something sad or an incredible triumph over adversity.  I’d suggest it is more abnormal if we have no emotions.  However, I want to spend some time talking about an emotion that is far more beneficial.

The context of today’s scripture is Paul writing a second letter to the church in Corinth.  In the first letter Paul rebuked them for the dissention that existed in the church.  He says he was sorry to have hurt them (in that first letter), but he was pleased with the result.  10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 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. (1 Cor 7: 10-11)

The phrase “Godly sorrow” only comes up once in Scripture and can also be called “Godly grief”.  It refers to an acute sense of sadness over the sin that we have committed.  The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once said:  “People seem to jump into faith very quickly nowadays.  I do not disapprove of that happy leap; but still, I hope my old friend repentance is not dead.  I am desperately in love with repentance; it seems to be to be the twin-sister to faith.”  Paul referred to “worldly sorrow” which only brings about bad feelings, perhaps guilt, whereas “godly sorrow” leads us to repent of our sins and in turn brings us life.  For, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Apparently there is a Puritan saying:  “Pray for the gift of tears”. Since the Holy Spirit resides in you as a believer (1 Cor. 6:19), if you allow Him to do so, He will reveal sin and lead you to seek repentance.  My prayer for me and for all who read this is “Godly sorrow”.  Lord may it be so!

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