Godly Sorrow and Worldly Sorrow are Not the Same

Christians are born into sin, but not bound by sin. Sin produces either Worldly sorrow or Godly sorrow. The two are not the same. Godly sorrow brings repentance and eternal life, worldly sorrow brings self-forgiveness and death.

~ Lisa Blair

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV

What is this scripture saying to us?

The kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin. My concern is that most try to categorize sin as a minor act or a major act, making one easier to erase than the other. Many feel sinning is defined by weight, the truth is that sin is not defined by scale but by act. The act itself defines it as sin. Whenever we focus on self and not the Lord, our sin nature is in control, and we are acting in sin that leads to death. Sin is defined as either sin of omission or commission.

Types of Sin: Sins of Omission and Commission

Sin through omission is sinning without being aware, and therefore one cannot experience remorse or shame for having committed the sin. The other type is sinning through commission, meaning we are knowingly committing the sin, and thus consciously experience shame, not because we sinned, but because we have been caught or feel guilt, this produces worldly sorrow. When we sin against God, because He is God, we feel Godly Sorrow. It is important to understand that worldly sin (sin focused on self) begets worldly sorrow because we want forgiveness for selfish reasons; when we sin against God, we want forgiveness because we know we hurt Him.

Worldly Sorrow

Because we are human, we experience a contrite self-focused sorrow, a feeling of remorse or regret affected by a sense of guilt, a worldly sorrow. For example, when, as children, we fibbed to a parent or adult, we felt guilty and wanted to be absolved to remove the guilty, shameful feeling. Worldly sorrow focuses on regret and remorse and is focused on self, leading to death; conversely, Godly sorrow leads to salvation and life.

Godly Sorrow

Godly sorrow is the acute sense of sadness we experience when we knowingly sin against God. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation. Godly sorrow results from the heartfelt conviction that we have offended God by our sin, it has nothing to do with our feelings. This sorrow is sorrow towards God because the sinful act is against His Holiness first. It is unselfish in its focus.

True Repentance

Regret involves the mind primarily, and remorse involves the emotions. But, repentance includes a change of mind, a hatred for sin, and a willingness to make things right. If the will is not touched, conviction has not gone deep enough.

Repentance is not to be taken lightly. It is not a ‘get out of jail’ card. When we repent for hurting God, we immediately become responsible for eliminating this act of sin from our being. While elimination may take time, each time we are confronted by the sin, we learn to stand fast and turn away until it is powerless over us. God looks at our intent as we grow into maturity, following His Will for our lives. There is no complete perfection in this life. He looks at our righteousness through Christ who mediates on our behalf. Like Paul wrote, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14 NLT. We must press on, relinquish our quest for self-gratification and focus on how we live a Godly life. As we mature, our lives should become less hurtful to God because our eye is on the prize and less on self. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Note

Earlier in my Christian walk, I prayed that God would forgive me for my sins of omission and commission, not realizing the focus of the prayer was on self. I did not understand wanting forgiveness was not an act of Godly sorrow, but one of worldly contrition. Now I pray that He helps me to remove myself from the equation and focus wholeheartedly on Him. When the focus is on Him, I remove my self-interest.

Once we define which type of sorrow we are experiencing, we can remove ourselves from being the subject. We can then acknowledge that we have sinned against God because He is our focus. It is not until we understand that it is not about us that we can suffer Godly sorrow that leads to salvation and eternal life.

Resources — gotquestions.com; purelifeministries.org; Nelson’s Quick Reference. Bible Commentary, Warren Wiersbe; Authentic Ministry “What is Real Repentance” II Corinthians 7:2-16. Pastor John Miller

Images — YouVersion/Bible.com; Google Images

Carrying Guilt is a Sin Against God

Sin is often subtle. Satan cloaks it in many ways, often through feelings of shame and guilt, leading us back into sin and hence, sinning against God.

~Lisa Blair

How can this be so? All sin is sin against God. Yes, He freed us of sin that strangled us when Jesus suffered on the Cross and gave His life for us. We are no longer bound by our sins. We received salvation because Jesus died for our sins. Our Father promised us that He would give us redemptive life.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Hebrews 4:14 NIV

As humans, we will sin until Jesus returns and conquers Satan, but through redemption, we do not have to wear it like an albatross. It does not have to hang around our necks, carrying it with us into eternity. We have been given the gift of repentance. When we acknowledge our sin, we have the opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness. When we do so, He forgives us and removes the sin from our lives as far as the east is from the west.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.  10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:8-12 NLT

It is our faith that is affected when we ask for forgiveness only through guilt to relive the sin again and again in our minds. If God forgave us, removed the sin from us, we must do the same. If we don’t, we are sinning against God. We are doubting His Word and resigning ourselves to the prison (faithlessness) Satan creates to incarcerate us within the walls of our past.

Most of us have done things we are ashamed of doing. Things that, if given an opportunity, we might have done differently, but we cannot change the fact that it occurred. We can accept God’s forgiveness and attempt to refrain from committing the same sin again. We may also find that there are consequences for what we have done, but the most important thing is that we learn from what we have done, repent and thank God that we are not bound by it any longer; until we forgive and place it in the sea of forgetfulness, we are sinning against God.

God warned those (of the Jewish faith) who became the first Christians about returning to their old ways in the Book of Hebrews. This warning is the same today as it was in the past. Returning to our old ways is an intentional act of denial. We deny God’s love for us and promise to keep us and never leave us, we reject His promise of redemption. We speak repentance but continue to carry the chain, we sin against our Father simply by denying His forgiveness.

If you are like me, and most humans, we have to work on forgiving ourselves once God has forgiven us earnestly. We have to learn to stop returning to the mental scene of the crime so to speak, thank God and move forward.

Moving forward is an act of maturity. As we learn about God’s promises, we must use them to reinforce who we are in Christ. This is an ongoing exercise. Living a Godly life is a process. Paul equates life as a race and crossing the finish line occurs when we perish from this earth and take up residence in heaven with Christ.

Warnings are opportunities to change. We are warned before we continue to repeat our past. God promised we are freed from sin when we repent. Repent and do not return to the past; do not bind yourself in regret and guilt. You have been freed. Accept it and move forward. Our Lord placed our sin into the sea of forgetfulness, and we must do the same. Let God set you on level ground. God’s Will is to free us from sin.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me to level ground. Psalms 143:10 NIV

Lord place me on solid ground, the land of uprightness (NKJV), lead me forward on a firm footing (NLT), lead me to level ground (NIV).

Failing to follow our Lord in our innermost being is living an outward life of a Christian. An outward life is one of self-righteousness and only a substitution for true faith. Releasing guilt must be an inner act of spiritual life in Christ that leads to Christian maturity. Holding on to guilt and shame is an act of spiritual immaturity, reflecting that we do not actually rely on Jesus Christ for salvation. Our sins are not unpardonable as was the case in the Old Testament. Christ provides the way for each of us who obey the gospel commands (by faith) to do so.

True repentance is complete surrender and submission to Christ and involves a change of mind and will to recognize and refuse our sin natures control over us and follow Christ. We must refuse to mentally return to the sin we committed, scolding ourselves over and over again. The Lord freed us from sin, accepted our repentance, and encourages us to move forward into Christian maturity. We should not sin against God.  People who know what the gospel is about and refuse to repent and believe, in effect, crucify Christ all over again.

Believing the gospel through faith is an act. We have to intentionally hold fast to our faith, release the thoughts (guilt) that bind us, stop crucifying Christ over-and-over again, and move forward as maturing Christians.

Scriptures—biblegateway.com; Bible.com

Resources—BibleHub.com; GotQuestions.org; BFS. Lesson-Hebrews

Images—Google Images; PicMonkey