Two kinds of grief about sin

Last updated on April 19, 2021

… godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

It is depressing when we realize how sinful we are in God’s eyes. When we learn that our relationship with God is severely damaged and that we can’t repair it ourselves, that’s good reason to grieve. The crucial question is how we respond to this information. Does our grief produce repentance that in turn leads to salvation? Then we can only be thankful that God has shown us the painful truth and offers a solution. Looking back, we can see that our grief was “godly grief”. It was necessary and fruitful grief.

However, the apostle Paul says there is also worldly grief that produces death. What does he mean? Well, if we realize that we have sinned, we can be sorry about the consequences. “Worldly grief” regrets the negative consequences for our own lives and cares about the opinion of other people – not God — might have about us. Because “worldly grief” is not concerned about the wrong we did to God, it will never lead to repentance and to a restored relationship with the Lord. It doesn’t solve the problem that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s why Paul says worldly grief “produces death”.

When you regret your sins, do you just regret the consequences or also the fact that you have grieved God?

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