2 Corinthians 7:8-11
For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same letter has made you sorry…
I. ITS NATURE — Sorrow according to God.
1. It is sorrow for sin as an offence against God. Not that the penitent is unaffected with the evil of sin as respects his fellow-creatures and his own soul. It is, however, as an offence against God that he chiefly laments it; he views it as rebellion against God, as transgression of His law, a disbelief of His truth, a rejection of His grace, ingratitude for His goodness, and insensibility to His love. "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in Thy sight." A consideration of his sins, as what occasioned the sufferings and death of Christ, is what especially affects his heart. He looks upon Him whom he has pierced, and mourns for Him.
2. It is according to the will of God as revealed in Scripture. Not that God delights to see any of His creatures unhappy. He knows that godly sorrow is essential to our-happiness.
3. It is produced in the heart by the Spirit of God. Man, in his natural state, knows nothing of this sorrow.
4. It accords with the design of God respecting man. This is evidently none other than to bring us back to Himself.
II. ITS EFFECT. It "worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." Repentance signifies a change of mind; a change of the understanding from darkness to light, and of the will and affections from sin to holiness. Such a change is attended with the most happy results. We do not wonder, therefore, to hear the apostle declare that it is "not to be repented of." Whether we consult Scripture or experience, whether we search the Church below or above, not a saint can we meet with that regrets his repentance or his salvation. Conclusion: But is this the case with the impenitent?
1. Is not the want of "repentance to salvation" often accompanied with such bitterness of reflection, even in the present world, and especially at the approach of death, as makes those who feel it unutterably wretched?
2. "The sorrow of the world worketh death." Having no connection with the love and fear of God and faith in His mercy it never ends happily, whatever may be the causes which produce it, it terminates at no time in a change of heart and conduct.
Parallel VersesKJV: For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.