Guilt or Godly Sorrow? [2 Corinthians 7]
10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul referred to his first letter in which he addressed some problems in the Corinthians church and acknowledged that what he wrote caused them to feel sorrow. However, he was glad to learn that they responded well to the letter and the sorrow it caused so that they took care of the issues. In verse 10, he explained that there were two ways to respond to sorrow, the world's way or God's way. Our natural way to deal with sorrow is the world's way, a way that often leads to guilt. According to Paul, this kind of sorrow only produces death or in other words, does not contribute to spiritual life or growth. After all, just a few chapters previous he had clearly explained that Christ died so that we could be justified, declared not guilty for past, present and future sins. Therefore, guilt is not from God. On the other hand, by taking our sorrow to God and praying it through with Him, it becomes a godly sorrow that "produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation." Because the Corinthians were already Christians, I think the salvation in this passage is referring to sanctification or the growth of spiritual fruit in the believer. However, this is the same process that can lead an unbeleiver to justification, too. Either way, God does not call us to guilt, but to a life of trusting His forgiveness and choosing to take our sorrows to Him so they do not weigh us down in the form of guilt.
We praise You God that in Christ we are forgiven of our past, present and future sins and that guilt is not from You. Cause us to keep on taking our sorrows to You so that they may lead us to repentance and grow Your fruit in us.
Beth Warlick, 6/24/2009