2 Corinthians 7:9-11 “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
We all fear confrontation; much due to the fact that we cannot control the outcome.
Yet, it is in the confrontation of our sin, and our sinful nature that begins to bring about the very fruit that is so needed in our churches today. It happened in the early church and is still needful today.
God has a way of bringing us to the place needed for Him to work in and through us.
David committed adultery and murder. He remained in a state of rebellion until the man of God came and pointed out his sin.
2 Samuel 12:7-8 “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.”
David began the road to repentance.
2 Samuel 12:13 “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
Afterwards, David wrote two very distinct Psalms that give us a glimpse into how he viewed his sin.
In Psalms 38, David describes very vividly how his sin affected him.
It affected him physically.
Psalm 38:2-3 “For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.”
When we allow it, sin can so unsettle us and bring our spirit into such a state that it affects our sleep, our mind; and our focus.
David came to a breaking point.
Psalm 38:17-18 “For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.”
Psalm 38:5 “My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness.”
Psalm 38:7 “For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh.”
Sorrow; godly sorrow that works in us to bring us to the place of repentance; must be our choice. Because I have the Holy Spirit in me, He cannot and will not tolerate the wickedness and foolishness and worldliness that I may allow.
I can choose to resist the Spirit’s prompting. I can neglect His voice. I can disobey the things He tells me that are needful for me to return to fellowship with the Father. His desire is restoration.
It is only through the acknowledgment of my sin and turning from it that brings about the type of fruit we so desire.
Sorrow comes when I begin to see and realize just what my sin has cost.
My sin touches every relationship I have.
First and foremost, my relationship with the Father. It is He whom I chose to sin against. I am His child. He never intended for me to sin again after salvation.
1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
God knew exactly what He was getting when He got us. He never intended us to rise to a state of sinless perfection. My sinful nature I received from Adam will never allow for that to happen. But, God is very concerned with the direction in which my heart is turned.
When seeking holiness and holy living, we become increasingly aware of sin and how it affects those around us. The presence of God in our lives comes when we are wanting to rid ourselves of all that is against God.
Impure thoughts, unclean living, filthy conversation are all products of what I allow my eyes to see; my ears to hear, and my mind to think. Sorrow comes when I realize how it affects my Father’s heart. Any good parent wants only good for their child. When they go off into the world, our heart breaks because we know and see the end and the sorrow it will bring.
Our Heavenly Father is no different. Knowing that He will never leave me nor forsake me, means that He has a front row seat to my sin. Knowing too, that He cannot be in the presence of sin, He turns His back to us as we choose worldly pleasures and lusts over Him.
As a young boy, I received a spanking for the misdeeds of my youth. As I grew, and the spankings stopped but, the knowledge that I hurt the heart of my parents seemed worse punishment than the spanking.
Selfishness keeps us from feeling that sorrow that will bring about repentance. Concern for my welfare over anyone else negates the work of God in my heart. When I remain in that state of selfishness, I grow cold to the things of God. His Word seems to not have any effect. The preaching and teaching of the Word of God becomes a nuisance and I will neglect the gathering together commanded by God.
Unless I turn to see how my sin affects those around me, I will grow colder and further away in my relationship with the Father. I must allow sorrow to have its work and its way with me.
It is humbling. But that humbling, confession, and repentance brings about some of the most wonderful fruit! Sorrow – godly sorrow, then becomes the door through which we must enter to receive the cleansing we so desire. It is a wonderful promise of God.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Today, if you find yourself in need, read Psalms 51. It is David’s heartfelt response to the conviction, sorrow, and repentance that took place because of his sin.
May we never shy away or neglect the need for godly sorrow and repentance to have its work in our life!