“For Godly sorrow works repentance. . .”

II Corinthians 7:10a

It is both a decisive act and a lifelong process.


Taken from the Greek word “metanoia,” this word basically means “an about-face, a reversal in direction, a u-turn, etc.”  Another way to look at it is “a turning from and a turning to.”  Thus, we’d do well to spend much time meditating upon the reasons for and results of true repentance lest we confuse “fleshly remorse” with “Godly sorrow that produces repentance.”

What is this “Godly sorrow”?

The Apostle Paul shed more light on this in Rom. 2:4 where he asked, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering—not knowing that the goodness (Grk. ‘chrestotes’—‘usefulness, moral excellence in character or demeanor, gentleness, kindness, graciousness, etc.’) of God leads you to repentance?”   Simply put, it’s the Heavenly Father’s Character and Conduct—i.e., Who He is and what He has done for us.

Thus, realizing how loving the Lord is to us. . .and how our sinning grieves His Holy Heart. . . should produce in us a deep conviction of sin that results in a turning from it.  We must forever remember:  Confession is not repentance; it is an acknowledging of our sinfulness or an “agreeing with God,” but it is still not a “turning away from sin.”

True repentance is a “coming to ourselves” (Lk. 15:17a) even as the prodigal son did that day in the pigsty and realizing how far we are from the Father/Home.  And, then it is “arising and going to the Father in brokenhearted, penitent confession that seeks reconciliation and restoration” (Lk. 15:17b-24).

Sadly, too many stop at the conviction of sin and deep consciousness of their sinful condition but fail to “arise and go to the father” (v.18a).  They continue living with deep, abiding, painful guilt over having “journeyed into a far country and wasted all their substance with riotous living” (v.13b); yet, they never run to the Father so He can give them Grace for guilt as they fall into His loving Arms (v.20).

Oh, dear Pilgrim, it is “God’s goodness” that creates within us “Godly sorrow.”  And, it is this Godly sorrow over our waywardness that drives us to Him.  Those waiting, open Arms have been on the Cross—for it is His Blood that atones for our sins (Rom. 5:6-11).  But, praise His Holy Name, they’re no longer there and long to gather us in even as a mother hen does her chicks when we come to Him in faith and repentance (Lk. 13:34)!  Hallelujah!!

So, which kind of sorrow do you have, dear Pilgrim?  Worldly sorrow or Godly sorrow?  “Worldly sorrow produces death” (I Cor. 7:10b), for it’s rooted in remorse and regret over “what should have been” or “could have been.”  But Godly sorrow grieves over hurting Jesus’ heart and moves us to “arise and go to the Father.”  And, what joy awaits us when “He sees us afar off, has compassion on us, runs to meet us, hugs and kisses us as He welcomes us Home” (Lk. 15:20).  Grace for guilt.  Grace for guilt.  The Cross instead of condemnation.  Repentance and restoration.  “Freed from the Curse” (Gal. 3:13).  Thank you, Lord Jesus.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated December 12, 2009

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