Summary: We need a godly sorrow in order to repent truly and turn from our sins unto God, but merely feeling sorry or guilty is a sorrow of the world that will only produce a false repentance.
REPENTANCE THROUGH GODLY SORROW.
Study Text: 2 Corinthians 7: 10 â€“ 11
For the grief according to God works repentance to salvation, not to be regretted, but the grief of the world works out death.
For behold this same thing (you being grieved according to God); how much it worked out earnestness in you; but also defense; but also indignation; but also fear; but also desire; but also zeal; but also vengeance! In everything you approved yourselves to be clear in the matter.
- True repentance can only be seen when someone has sorrow because he or she had done something against the will of God, and that sorrow is producing a willingness to turn from the evil and turn to God.
- In discoursing on the subject, we shall be looking at:
I. Defining True Repentance
II. Identifying True Repentance
III. Defining False Repentance
IV. Identifying False Repentance
I. Defining True Re pentance:
- It involves a change of opinion respecting the nature of sin, and this change of opinion followed by a corresponding change of feeling towards sin.
- Feeling is the result of thought. And when this change of opinion is such as to produce a corresponding change of feeling, if the opinion is right and the feeling corresponds, this is true repentance.
- Godly sorrow, such as God requires, must spring from such views of sin as God holds.
A : There must be a change of opinion in regard to sin.
1. A change of opinion in regard to the nature of sin.
- To one who truly repents, sin looks like a very different thing from what it does to him who has not repented.
- Instead of looking like a thing that is desirable or fascinating, it looks the very opposite, most odious and detestable, and he is astonished at himself, that he ever could have desired such a thing.
- Impenitent sinners may look at sin and see that it will ruin them, because God will punish them for it. But after all, it appears in itself desirable. They love it. They roll it under their tongue. If it could end in happiness, they never would think of abandoning it.
- But to the other it is different; he looks at his own conduct as perfectly hateful. He looks back upon it and exclaims, "How hateful, how detestable, how worthy of hell, such and such a thing was in me."
2. A change of opinion of the character of sin as respects its relation to God.
- Sinners do not see why God threatens sin with such terrible punishment. They love it so well themselves, that they cannot see why God should look at it in such a light as to think it worthy of everlasting punishment.
- When they are strongly convicted, they see it differently, and so far as opinion is concerned, they see it in the same light as a Christian does, and then they only want a corresponding change of feeling to become Christians.
- Many a sinner sees its relation to God to be such that it deserves eternal death, but his heart does not go with his opinions. This is the case with the devils and wicked spirits in hell.
- The heart never goes out to God in true repentance without a previous change of opinion. There may be a change of opinion without repentance, but no genuine repentance without a change of opinion.
3. A change of opinion in regard to the tendencies of sin.
- Before, the sinner thinks it utterly incredible that sin should have such tendencies as to deserve everlasting death. He may be fully changed, however, as to his opinions on this point without repentance, but it is impossible that a man should truly repent without a change of opinion.
- He sees sin in its tendency, as ruinous to himself and everybody else, soul and body, for time and eternity, and at variance with all that is lovely and happy in the universe.
4. A change of opinion in regard to the desert of sin.
- The word rendered repentance implies a change in the state of the mind including all this. The careless sinner has almost no right ideas, even so far as this life is concerned, respecting the desert of sin.
- Suppose he admits in theory that sin deserves eternal death, he does not believe it. If he believed it, it would be impossible for him to remain a careless sinner. He is deceived, if he supposes that he honestly holds such an opinion as that sin deserves the wrath of God for ever.
B : In true repentance there must be a corresponding change of feeling.
- The change of feeling respects sin in all these particulars, its nature, its relations, its tendencies, and its deserts.