Behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— 9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. 12 So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God. 13 For this reason we have been comforted.
And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For if in anything I have boasted to him about you, I was not put to shame; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, so also our boasting before Titus proved to be the truth. 15 His affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you.
In today’s text it says: The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. Romans 2:3-4 says: But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? So, which is it, does God’s kindness lead to repentance, or is it Godly sorrow which leads to repentance? It is not one or the other, but both working together. Godly sorrow comes not from God inflicting punishment on us, but rather, it comes when we recognize the price that Jesus paid to redeem us from sin. How could we look upon the cross; how can we see the nails in Jesus hands and feet and the lashes on His back and not repent, in sorrow, of the sins which caused Him that anguish? How can we look upon His suffering; the demonstration of God’s love and not feel sorrow? Like the prodigal son, when we think of the goodness and the kindness of God, it leads to repentance, to change so that we can experience His kindness rather than the sorrow of the world.
The text says, the sorrow of the world produces death. Many times, people are sorry only for the trouble they find themselves in. They promise change, but as soon as the trouble passes, they return to their ways. Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The world cries out for justice, but what we really need is mercy and grace. None of us should seek what we deserve, because none of us are owed a thing. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says: Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. God will give us all that we need and more, by His grace and mercy, because of His great love, if we will respond to His kindness and righteousness. In Psalm 89:14 it says: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You. To know the loving kindness of God, we must know the foundation from which it comes, righteousness and justice.
Romans 11:22 says: Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Perhaps God’s greatest demonstration of His grace is that He is patient toward us. His desire is not that we would know or experience the severity of His justice, but rather that all would repent and know His love and kindness.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your love, demonstrated in the cross. Thank You for the grace of Your patience, that You give us time to repent so that we might know Your love and kindness rather than the severity of justice. Thank You that You don’t give us what we deserve, but by Your grace and mercy, because of Your great love, You give us all that we need. Amen.