Saturday in the Twenty-Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 7:2-16

Godly Grief Produces Life

Paul here recounts the letter which he wrote to them “out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears” (2:4).  He had regretted writing it; no doubt, he was anxious about its reception among the Corinthians, especially after that “painful visit” (2:1).  But now Paul rejoices that though his letter grieved them, it only did so for a while; and he rejoices not that they were grieved per se, but that their grief led them to repentance.  And then he makes a statement that truly separates the righteous from the wicked, the godly from the worldly: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

There are two kinds of grief in the world—godly and worldly—and they work two very different results.  Worldly grief may manifest itself in sorrow for things lost—wealth, possessions, even family members and loved ones.  Such sorrow, though perhaps understandable, does not seek God’s will and way in it or God’s redemptive purposes through it, but only focuses on the worldly value lost.  God makes no difference in the loss, and so it is simply lost to no earthly or heavenly good.  And since the matters of this world are all that matter to such a one, the grief is all-consuming.  Or, as in the case with Judas, it might be a worldly grief that rejects God.  Such a person does not see that God could forgive him, that he is too sinful and thus beyond redemption.  Such an attitude has an appearance of humility about it but is really an inverted form of arrogance.  It despairs of God’s grace and power to forgive and as such is the conviction of an unbeliever.

Like these Corinthians, Peter shows the way to godly grief and repentance.  He denied his Lord, not once, not twice, but three times!  He even endured that look from Jesus at the moment of his third denial.  Of course he went out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:61-62)!  And what of David—adultery and murder, no less!  And the baby’s life was taken because of his sin.  But what does David do when it is all over: “He went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20).  These two men show what godly grief looks like, for they grieved unto life, not death.  They were humble enough not only to confess their sin and feel the horrible ache of it, but to also believe that God was big enough to forgive and cleanse away even their sin.  David still reaped consequences for his sin later in life (2 Samuel 15-18), but he bore up under those consequences manfully.  So grieve over sin as well you should, but grieve unto life by repenting and receiving our Lord’s forgiveness

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply