Feb. 20. Repentance Comes from Godly Sorrow

II Cor. 7:1-16

With these promises from God, Paul urged the Corinthians to put away the filthy sins that were so prevalent during that day. He even included himself in that admonition. They must go forward in faithful obedience to perfection or a complete life in Christ.

Paul continued to defend himself against his detractors. He stated that he had not harmed anyone, either by his deeds or teaching during the eighteen months that he was with them or even since that time. His affection for the Corinthians was so great that he would die or live with them and that he boasted to others about their faith.

The occasion for writing the first letter to the Corinthians was one of great pain and sorrow for Paul. He had used harsh words to make them realize the gravity of their condition. At some point, he even questioned in his mind whether they would receive his letter in the spirit in which it was sent.

When Paul came to Macedonia, he was in a troubled state. There were physical persecutions and he was anxious about the news he would receive from Titus. The disappointment of not meeting Titus in Troas was still on his mind.

Paul’s outlook on life and concern for the Corinthians changed when he met with Titus. He reported that they had repented of the sins that Paul had written about and were anxious to see him. This was a complete turn from the news that he feared he would receive.

Godly sorrow leads one to repent of his sins. Paul wrote that he did not regret making the Corinthians sorry because it was this sorrow that caused them to turn from their sins toward salvation.

Worldly sorrow works toward death—sometimes physical, but always spiritual death. A person with worldly sorrow may show a temporary remorse or be sorry that he got caught. Godly sorrow causes a change of heart and action.

Paul explained the reason for his first letter in more detail. Even though he was distressed by the incestuous man and his sin against his father, he was more concerned about the overall state of the church in allowing this sin to continue and he desired that they know of his care for them.

Since Paul had assured Titus that the Corinthians would give him a proper reception, the meeting with Titus brought great relief to him. If they had been unkind to him, it would have been a shame to Paul. Instead, Titus was enthused because they had received him with joy and refreshed his spirit. Paul praised the Corinthians for renewing his confidence in them.