Monday, October 6, 2008

Godly sorrow

II Cor. 7:9-10 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that you 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.
Paul here is writing the church in Corinth for the second time and is referring here to the strong words that he had with them concerning a sin within the church. Though he was sorry he had had to hurt their feelings, he was glad that they had heeded his words and repented of the sin, to repent means not only to be sorry in your mind and words, but in your actions as well. The very definition of the word repent is "to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent." This is a contrast to the word sorrow here, it is very easy to be sorry about something but to repent is another thing altogether. How many of us have seen the occasion when one child will smack another in a fit of anger, and then as soon as the second child begins crying immediately start expressing how sorry he is? Unfortunately this is not unique to children, we have all seen the public figure get caught acting in a immoral way only to stand before a microphone to tell the world how sorry he is for doing it. It is easy to be sorry, what's hard, is to forsake that way of life and begin to act differently, the child who is truly repent will not smack another child again, the dignitary will never again commit whatever indecency he was caught in.
Lets take this to a more personal level now, how many of us have ever heard a sermon or read a book that laid bare some particular sin in our life and we have felt sorrow and remorse throughout the entire speech or reading? Yet how often do we walk out of the church or put the book down, glad to have that burden off our shoulders, and continue to live the same way? No one cares if you are sorry that you did something, in fact Paul said that sorrow without repentance led to death. We know that continuing in our sin leads to death as well,(II Pet. 2:10-12) so then the issue is not whether you are sorry or not, but whether or not you repent.
So then following this train of thought I would exhort you as well, to be careful when you hear preaching that convicts you about a particular sin in your life that you waste no time in turning from that sin. Unfortunately, it has become a rare thing in this day to hear preaching against sin, the name of the game today is preaching that only makes people feel good about themselves and is encouraging. While there is no doubt in my mind that is important to preach encouraging messages, it is also true that we are reprove and rebuke as well as exhort. We live in a part of the country where if we don't like what's being said in the pulpit we can just pick up and move to the church across the street. However, the man in that pulpit is watching for your soul if he is a true Pastor, and he does not want to see you die spiritually, but to see you brought to the repentance that leads to salvation not to be repented of. I would then encourage you to examine yourselves to see whether you have repented and turned from your sins, or have you simply been sorry only to continue in them?

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