2 Corinthians 7:8-13
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
OK, before we move on, I want you to go back and read the verses again. These verses are profound and important, but the language isn’t super straight forward. It took me a couple times reading it over to fully understand it, so let’s break it down together.
The beginning starts with Paul saying in his letter to the Church of Corinth that even if his letter caused them to grieve, he does not regret it and even rejoices that his letter effected them. Scholars believe that Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians sometime between 1 and 2nd Corinthians. In this letter, he called out inappropriate behavior that was being engaged in. Paul said that he can rejoice in their response to the letter because they didn’t get stuck in guilt and grief, rather, they were moved to repentance. The Godly sorrow of being confronted with their sin caused them to look at their sin straight on. This changed their hearts and helped them to face their sin, to turn from it, and to work through it with God so that they might be more obedient, thus becoming more Christ-like.
Paul contrasts this with “worldly grief”, which leads to death. When a nonbeliever is confronted with their wrong doings, there is no redemption as we have through Christ. There’s regret, bondage, a sorry, a hold that sin has over them. Ultimately, that sin leads to death.
Paul ends by commending the Corinthians for responding to their sin well. Titus brought the letter to the church, and seeing their response by turning from their sin encouraged and refreshed his soul so that he might continue seeking out the Lord earnestly.
There’s so much jam packed into these verses. How sweet is it to know that our Savior knew us well enough to know that He could write these verses in 54 AD, across the the world from us, in order to speak to our hearts here, today. Being confronted with our sin is so, so painful. It can be so hard to hear it with a gracious, gentle heart. However, consider the alternative, friend. Praise God that our sin does not lead to death, because we have been freed through the blood of our Savior. We are not trapped in guilt, sorrow, grief, shame, or bondage. In the name of Jesus, we are free. We can face our sin, head on, and turn toward Jesus in repentance to move closer to our Lord instead of further away. How sweet is it to also know that it goes a step further in showing us that our freedom in salvation and growth towards becoming more Christ-like can encourage those around us.
So, my friend, my question for you today is- are you living like you’re free? Are you living like you’ve been saved and no longer have to feel shame? Our Lord has no intention of making us feel trapped in the guilt and shame of our sin. Rather, He uses verses such as these to remind us that He wants us to draw nearer to Him that we may experience the life and freedom that only He can offer.
Today, instead of guiding us through prayer, I want to just invite you to take a moment of stillness. Ask the Lord to show you any areas of sin that He wants to continue to refine you in. Ask Him to show you any areas that you’re still letter shame and sorrow continue to have power over you. Spend time, just asking and taking to the Lord today that you might find a moment of peace that reminds you to live in the freedom that Jesus has bought for us.
Author: Becca Artymenko