2 Corinthians 7:10: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
Paul has written about the deep sorrow experienced by the Corinthians in response to his letter to them. They grieved deeply over their sinfulness. Paul has not dismissed that pain, but he has said he rejoices because it led to their repentance from sin. In the end, it was for their good and not their harm.
Now Paul generalises this idea to every believer. Godly grief produces repentance: turning away from the sinful path to go in the right direction. That repentance leads to salvation and leaves no regret. Paul may not have in mind here salvation in the sense of a person’s eternal destiny, but those in Christ are securely saved because of God’s forgiveness for sin is irreversible.
Worldly grief, on the other hand, leads only to death. Worldly grief is a pain over the consequences of sin that does not lead to repentance. It is only pain followed by more sin followed by more pain. The path of sin always leads to death and destruction and never to life and joyfulness.
Godly grief hurts. It hurts us to recognise our sinfulness and our responsibility for bringing pain to others with our sin. If that hurt leads to repentance, though, it is a pain that frees the believer from regret. In the end, a Christian is glad for the grief that brought them back to the path of life.
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