Good Grief, Without Regret ~ 2 Corinthians 7:5-16 ~ 1 March 2015
At the heart of our passage this week (2 Corinthians 7:5-16), Paul writes, “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” The grief he is speaking of refers to what one feels when they have been ‘found out’ or reprimanded for their poor behaviour or sin.
None of us like to be ‘found out’ or ‘told off’, but really, who are we kidding? God sees all things, and he disciplines those he loves. Often, this correction comes from those he has given to care for us and teach us such as a parent, teacher, pastor or person of authority in society.
Paul is telling us here, that it is not so much the nature of the correction which produces the desired outcome or not, but how we receive and respond to it. A response of worldly grief, which sees no further than our own guilt, humiliation and loss, can produce much anger, deep shame and regret, and ultimately leads to death. On the other hand, godly grief, which sees our sin for what it is – against God himself! – produces a repentance that leads to salvation. God is merciful and just, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. It is this loving kindness and grace of God, even in what sometimes feels to be firm and unpleasant discipline, which leads to repentance and salvation. But that is not all – this repentance and salvation is ‘without regret’! What wonder and joy there is in knowing the cleansing power of the cross, where all our sins, griefs and sorrows were borne to the point of death, such that we can now live in the full assurance of faith, without regret.