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“For 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.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB. What Paul says here is so true!
When someone is convicted that there is something in their life that they should confess and repent of, there is often a struggle within (before they give themselves fully to God and are born again). When sin is cherished it seems sorrowful to give up; it seems so sweet. It may seem sorrowful when they worry what family or friends will think about them doing what God has asked them to do to make things right. It is embarrassing to confess their sin to others. There are any number of sorrows that someone can experience. But are they sorry for their sins? Is there a sorrow for sin? Jesus said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 KJV. Do you have sorrow? If you are sorry that your life is not what it should be, and desire to have wonderful peace and a new life with God you will be comforted, because God will give it to you! If you are sorry for the consequences of your sins, but not for what you did, this is not true sorrow. When you are tired of sinning, hurting yourself, God and others, and want things to be better, humble your heart before God and throw yourself on His mercy for help! Give into God’s sweet Spirit! It doesn’t matter how small the sin might appear to be. Listen to David’s perplexity and his desire to confess here: “For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.” Psalm 38:17-18 NASB. Here David shows his sorrow for his sins, so he confessed them, and in several places in this Psalm he was begging for God’s help and mercy. David knew that he needed help from God to get peace and security. This is the way all contrite people will be. “Do not forsake me, O LORD; O my God, do not be far from me!” Psalm 38:21 NASB.
You may have thought that you gave yourself to God years ago, and believe that you have confessed all of your sins to Him. But you probably know what God is asking you to do right now that you put off… put it off no more, so you can have wonderful peace with God! He loves you! You may have put off long ago what God had asked you to do and forgotten about it. If you lack true sweet wonderful peace from God, and lack His sweet Spirit in your heart now, please pray to Him to reveal to you again whatever it was that you failed to do that you should have done.
If you have sweet wonderful peace with God now and are walking in the light of His love, we are happy for you! This is the way you should always be! That means you have a sweetness in your life and in the way you live - your life is a fragrant aroma to God! That means that you are loving and kind to others and are seeking to show them how much God loves them, or you are helping them in whatever way that God has blessed you with the ability and gifts of doing, because God’s goodness is flowing through you to others. And you are bearing much fruit for God. John 15:8. Does this portray your life? No, then there is a work for you to do - yield yourself fully to God to obey Him, and make things right with Him or others. Let God help you do this and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. You will never regret it! He will turn your sorrow from sin into joy and wonderful peace! But how can this be? You may say, ‘I love the Truth and am following it.’ If you really love the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6) and believe in Him (John 3:16-17), you will have a most wonderful change in your life, and you will dearly love God and others. And serving God will be your constant delight. How do we know this? “Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31-32 NASB. Thus you see that if you are really abiding in Christ, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, and you will truly be His disciple! What truth? The truth of God’s love for you and the world! That truth is found only in Jesus and Him and His Father’s love for you. This will transform your life if you let it! If your life is not transformed like this, then there is a change you still need - you need to be made free. If you are free you will want to be Jesus’ disciple. Do not think that because you have been a Christian your entire life or because you are of ‘the true faith’ that you have no need of this. God is able from these stones to raise up children of faith for Abraham, i.e. children of God. Matthew 3:9. If you are not there yet - there is hope - if you will let God help you and do everything He asks.
If you do not have this sweet wonderful peace, or have not become a new creation yet - learn to love God, obey Him, and give yourself completely to Him - and all of this can be yours! If God is not first in your life - if you do not love Him more than anyone and anything else, you do not have this wonderful change yet or have let it slip away - that only a life yielded fully to God can have, a life which is filled with the Holy Spirit and great joy! Those who do not love God more than anyone or anything else are at least partly or fully breaking the First Commandment, Exodus 20:3. If God is not first in your life – if you do not love Him more than anyone or anything else, you need to confess this to Him; tell Him you are sorry that you have not put Him first or continued to put Him first, and ask Him to help you keep His commandments, which are to love Him with all of your heart, mind and soul and strength, and to help you love your neighbor as yourself! Matthew 22:26-40. But if you will give yourself completely to God and put Him first because you love Him, you will never regret it! We promise you! Your life then will be so sweet and your love for Him will be so deep! You will wonder why you never gave yourself completely to Him before! And the things of this world will lose their hold on you, as your love for Him grows. When this happens, you will be ready or nearly ready for Heaven!
Solomon summed it all up when he declared: “Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Ecclesiastes 7:3-4 KJV. Some do not want to think about their course, and what they need to do to be right with God. Their heart is full of sorrow and guilt, but they try to drown it out or ignore it. They want to keep themselves in a constant state of entertainment, mirth and comedy, anything but dealing with the sorrow that needs to be repented of. But Solomon says that the wise are in the house of mourning! This is when someone considers their life to see what God wants them to do, confess, make things right with Him and others, even if it isn’t pleasant. ‘The sorrow of the world produces death’, as Paul says above, but ‘the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces repentance without regret’, i.e. salvation! The wise have the sorrow that is according to the will of God, which produces repentance without regret, because they think about their life and are sorry for their sins, and confess them to Him, and turn away from them.
Why does true sorrow produce repentance without regret? Because you cannot know true peace until you have confessed all of your sins and turned away from them. If you keep going back to your sins, your guilt will keep coming back. If this continues long enough you may give up hope, because sin brings guilt and shame and destroys. But if you believe that God can help you and decide to do what He is asking you to do, He will help you to stop doing what is wrong - this will give you hope! God will help you break that downward spiral of sinning again and again, and sinful addictions, and all that accumulating guilt, shame and hopelessness that sinning again and again brings - if you let Him. Once you give in and give up, confess and decide to do what God has asked you to do, He will help you and you will finally know true peace with no regrets! No regrets, because you will be so happy once you give in and decide to do whatever God has told you to do! No regrets – do you want this? Why would you regret all the joy, peace and relief you get when you know true repentance? You wouldn’t! God will help those who truly turn to Him, forgive them, and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. That is His promise to you! Amen!
In closing, let us examine the Apostle James’ wisdom for us: “But He [God] gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:6-10 NASB. Jesus declared, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32 KJV. What Jesus says here also includes confession to God for sins, for no one can truly confess Jesus to men, unless they are first His disciple. And no one can truly be Jesus’ disciple until they have confessed their sins and yielded fully to Him! We should all want Jesus to confess to His Father that He knows us shouldn’t we? Jesus declared, “Many will say to me in that day [the day of the kingdom of Heaven, i.e. the judgement], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’” Matthew 7:22-23 KJV. We should all want Jesus to confess that He knows us to the Father! May God have mercy on all those who haven’t yielded fully to Him, and confessed all their sins to Him, including not putting Him first in their life! May He grant them more time and mercy to learn to love Him with all of their heart, and all of their soul and all of their mind! Matthew 22:37.
“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of any one, says the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” Ezekiel 18:30-32 RSV.
May the grace of God be with you all. May you know the sorrow that is according to the will of God which produces repentance without regret. May you know the height, the depth, and the riches of God. May you have wonderful peace and the love of God! May your conscience be clear, clean and happy! May you be filled with the love of God! May you be filled with His sweet Spirit! Amen!
By John Foll, Written 2/18/2017, revised 9/15/2020.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
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