Our scripture this morning is 2 Corinthians 7:8-12.
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God.
Paul teaches the Corinthians (and us) about repentance in this passage. He speaks of “godly grief”, the feeling of sadness for disobedience which “produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (v. 10). This is different than “worldly grief”, sadness over earthly things that lead us away from faith.
We hear that godly grief brings us closer to the Father in our desire to be forgiven. Paul apologizes for his letter which caused their grief but tells them it wasn’t about human issues of wronging someone or being wronged. Instead it energized them in their repentance.
We need this godly grief in order to be made right with God. If we feel no sadness over sin, we cannot be saved. The old hymn I Want a Principle Within says we need “A sensibility of sin, a pain to feel it near”. May we turn from our failures to joyful obedience.
Loving Lord, we are sorry when we fall away and don’t follow Your word. Help us to see the right, and to go in Your name to all the world. Amen.