Godly Sorrow

2Corinthians 7:8-10 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle had made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow work repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world work death. 

‘For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, thou I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle had made you sorry, though it were but for a season.’ Paul first regretted having written such a severe letter, but when he saw its effect he was glad.

‘Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance.’ He did not rejoice because they were made sorry, but he was glad that they sorrowed to repentance. They were made sorry after a godly manner so that no harm has been done, for godly sorrow always works to the salvation of those who exercise it (7:9-10).

‘That you might receive damage by us in nothing’ – their repentance prevented him from using his power for destruction so that they received no damage in anything.

‘Godly sorrow work repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world work death.’ Three kinds of sorrow here (7:8-10): Paul’s regret for the moment as he wondered whether he had made a mistake by being too severe in his letter (7:8). Godly sorrow that works repentance to salvation, changes the life and cleanses it from sin (7:8-10). Sorrow of the world that works death (7:10). This is unrepentant sorrow or pain over lost goods, lost friends, lack of pleasure and partial reaping of what has been sowed.

Examples of sorrow: Cain in punishment (Gen. 4:13-14). Hagar in homelessness (Gen. 21:17). Israel in bondage (Exo. 3:7-10). Jacob for Joseph (Gen. 37:34-35). Jacob for Benjamin (Gen. 43:14). Hannah in barrenness (1Sam. 1:15). Saul when rejected (1Sam. 15:24, 30). David for Absalom (2Sam. 18:33 – 19:8). Mary and Martha (John 11:19-40). Jesus (Isa. 53:3; Matt. 26:37-44). Judas in betrayal (Matt. 27:3-5). The Corinthians (2Cor. 7:8-12).

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