2Corinthians 7:10 - Sorrow - Is It Godly or Worldly?
2Corinthians (KJV) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to
salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh
2Corinthians (NIV) Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to
salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
Godly sorrow . . . worldly sorrow: The former manifests itself
by repentance and the experience of divine grace; the latter brings
death because, instead of being God-centered sorrow over the
wickedness of sin, it is self-centered sorrow over the painful consequences
of sin. [NIV SB]
Paul teaches here the important doctrine of repentance. He
states that there is a vast difference between repentance and regret.
Repentance is from God and is a sorrow that draws people closer to God and
brings them to a place of confessing and forsaking sin. Regret is from
the world; its drives people away from God and into the hand of
Satan. For example, Peter showed repentance and was forgiven; Judas
showed regret and took his own life. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines]
It is important to note that the Bible identifies both a true
and a false repentance. Godly grief is true repentance, and true
repentance is more than contrition. A person may be sorrowful over his
sins yet unrepentant because he is sorrowing for the wrong reasons.
Instead of sorrowing because his sins have hurt and disappointed God, he
may just feel bad because his sins have been personally painful,
stressful, or costly, or because his sins have been found out. If there is
no change in character, there has been no true repentance. Floyd
McClung; [Time with God SB]
Many people are sorry only for the effects of their sins or for
being caught. In the original Greek, "sorrow without repentance"
literally means "the sorrow of the world." When people do not channel
their grief over their behavior into life-changing actions, it is
unproductive grief. It leads to self-pity. But godly sorrow is practical and
action-oriented. When a person realizes what he or she has done wrong, that
person should not only regret the error but also turn back to God. Only
God can empower people to change their ways. Only God can save
people from the way sin imprisons them and paralyzes them. Only God can
help us turn away from sin and seek salvation.
Compare the stories of Peter and Judas. Both handled the events
surrounding Jesus' death in a wrong way. Judas brazenly betrayed Jesus with
a kiss (Mark 14:43-46). Peter denied knowing Jesus three different
times (John 18:15-27). Both were overcome with grief over their
actions (Matt 26:75; 27:3). Although Peter was distraught, he had the
humility and the courage to admit his failure, reform his behavior, and
rededicate his life to Jesus' cause (see John 21:15-19). In contrast, Judas
let his remorse eat at his soul. Eventually overcome by guilt, he
committed suicide. Judas wasn't able to learn from his sin and repent. He
didn't submit his sins to Christ..... He was too proud to cry out for
salvation, so his stubbornness led to death. (Life Application Commentary)
Godly sorrow. This is the sorrow that is wrought in the heart of
the believer by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When the believer
does wrong or falls short, the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephes. 4:30).
His work is quenched (1 Thes. 5:19). His ministry of making the
believer like Jesus is hindered and hampered. So He begins His convicting
work. Under the weight of conviction the believer's heart is thereby
led to repent. The believer changes his mind and turns his behavior
around to what it should be (cp. Peter, Matthew 26:75). Godly sorrow
always leads to repentance. A believer who refuses to repent wallows
around and eventually dwells in the realm of worldly sorrow. He always
bears the mark of indwelling and unconfessed sin and failure.
[Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible]
Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of
God... penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace
works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin,
God must have given it thee,... True repentance has a distinct
reference to the Saviour.... True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No
man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see
the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally--as a
burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man
who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon
the highway; and we shall shun it--shun it in everything--not in great
things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as
great snakes.... each night we shall close the day with painful
confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers,
that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him....
Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day...
Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our
growth. [Morning and Evening by Charles H Spurgeon]
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Happy are they whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are
pardoned. Romans 4:7 (ICB)
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin
is put out of sight! Psalm 32:1 (NLT)