GODLY GRIEF PRODUCES REPENTANCE
2 Corinthians 7
You Are In Our Hearts
Paul calls the believers in Corinth to holiness in light of the promises he referenced at the end of chapter six. The Corinthians should separate themselves from the temple worship, idolatry, and anything that would cause them to compromise holiness. The pursuit of holiness should be done in the fear of the Lord. Fear should not be understood as terror, but as reverence and a sense of awe in light of God's perfect holiness. Paul believes that there is some reticence in the hearts of the Corinthian believers and he asks them to make room in their hearts for him. Paul maintains his integrity declaring that he has wronged no one, corrupted no one, nor taken advantage of anyone. Paul does not want the Corinthians to think that he is questioning their integrity; instead, he wants them to understand that he thinks very fondly of them which is the reason for the strong defense of his actions. Paul is confident in the church at Corinth because, despite the conflict, he is encouraged. Paul esteems the congregation as he is filled with great joy and comfort.
You Were Grieved Into Repenting
Paul suffered when he came to Macedonia battling external affliction as well as internal fear. The apostle had no rest and was physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. God sustained Paul and comforted him during this difficult season in ministry. Paul sent Titus to Corinth to deliver an earlier letter, and he struggled as he waited for news from his friend. Paul recognized Titus’ good report as God's comfort and care for the downcast. Paul was afraid that the Corinthians resented him due to his letter of rebuke, but Titus reported that the people were longing for him. Paul knew that his earlier letter caused grief and sorrow in the church and it left him with mixed feelings. Paul did not relish their pain and sorrow, on the contrary, he knew that the grief would only last a short time and it led to their repentance. Paul could rejoice because this godly sorrow brought them to repentance. Paul explains to the Corinthian believers that there are two types of sorrow, but only one leads to salvation without regret. Conviction of sin can bring about bitter sorrow and godly grief which leads to life and salvation. Worldly grief leads to guilt and death. Repentance is given by God as the authority and glory of Jesus are seen as greater than anything else. Sorrow is not enough and repentance is proven through obedience. Regret and sorrow are not the same as repentance. Paul points out the results of the Corinthians boldly grief as earnestness, eagerness for reconciliation, indignation toward their sin, fear, a longing for righteousness, zeal, and punishment. The Corinthians showed their innocence in the matter. Paul explains the reason he wrote the letter was not to blame or defend anyone. His goal was to help the Corinthians see their devotion to the ways of Christ. The repentance of the people had been a source of great comfort to Paul. Paul goes on to describe his joy when Titus arrived. The Corinthians had encouraged Titus, and he had been refreshed by the Corinthians’ reaction to his visit. Paul rejoices in the work of God in the lives of the Corinthians because his words had proved correct. Titus' affection for the church grew as he observed their repentance. Paul also remarked on the way the Corinthians received Titus with fear and trembling. The people received the rebuke and responded in obedience which brought Paul and Titus great joy. Paul's emotional response is a complete confidence in the Corinthian believers because their faith proved genuine.
Things To Consider:
- How do you walk the line of being in the world but remaining separate?
- Why does holiness matter?
- How should God's demand for holiness play a part in our lives each day?
- What are some ways God comforts the downcast?
- Why is being sorry not the same as repentance?
- How can you tell the difference between worldly and godly sorrow?
- How should we utilize this truth in discipleship?