Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Kinds of Sorrow

The Bible contrasts two kinds of sorrow. One is godly that leads to salvation. The other is a worldly sorrow that leads to death. The Scriptures tell us that godly sorrow leads to repentance but worldly sorrow does not lead to repentance.
         The problem is that these two sorrows often look the same. As far as the emotion of sorrow goes, we have a hard time distinguishing one from the other. In fact, worldly sorrow might look more real, more genuine to us, than godly sorrow. It might seem more emotional, more overcome with grief.
         But godly sorrow leads to repentance and repentance leads to salvation. Godly sorrow accomplishes that which we desire, turning away from the sin and turning to Jesus Christ. But worldly sorrow does not look to Christ. It justifies itself with the emotions of sorrow. Esau and Judas are good examples of worldly sorrow. They lamented their sins. They were sorry. They felt bad. Judas even paid restitution, casting the money into the temple. But he did not repent. He did not look to Jesus for forgiveness. He went out and hanged himself.
         Godly sorrow is honest. It admits the truth of the depth of our fallen nature, our need for Christ. It openly confesses real sins to God, inviting His close inspection. It turns away from those sins and looks to Jesus in faith for forgiveness, victory over sin and restoration. 
         Godly sorrow leads to repentance and salvation.  So, be honest. Sorrow before God in such a way that the result is true confession, repentance and taking hold of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

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