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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Precious Gift of Repentance

2 Corinthians 7 : 8 - 10, For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. NKJV
Where would you and I be if God had not granted us the gift of being able to repent of our sins? Truly, God’s love and grace are amazing, especially to those of us who realize that He only wants to save us from destruction. Paul brings out a VERY important point in his second letter to the believers at Corinth; however, the truths he spoke of actually came from his initial letter to them. In his first letter, he mentioned some things that made some feel sorrowful (sorry) in their hearts. Sorry means to be sad, grieved, heavy.
Nonetheless, after hearing about the effects of his first letter on the believers, Paul regretted that he had sent them the news because of those who were made sorry by it; this leads me to the point of today’s word for believers. We can plainly see that “Godly sorrow” is the beginning of the work of repentance. Paul almost made the mistake of thinking that it was HIS FAULT that the believers in Corinth were made sorrowful; however, obviously, God showed him differently. We know this to be the truth because at first Paul was remorseful, but, later, when he heard that his letter caused them to repent, he recanted his attempt to apologize...because God had used the truth Paul spoke to break the spirit of deception from their hearts.
Let’s expound on what you just read in the previous paragraph. Preaching and teaching the Word of God can cause hurt feelings. The main reason people feel the sting of the truth when it’s preached is because they recognize that what they believed to be right was actually an error. The truth enabled them to realize that they were deceived and had gone astray in their hearts. Sometimes it shocks us when we come to the understanding that we were wrong in our thinking.
It’s at this point in the work of repentance that people can easily take offense and turn on the one who delivered the truth because of the pain
“they have inflicted." I thank God that He loves us enough to tell us the truth about the sin in our hearts, instead of allowing us to die in our sins and suffer eternally in torment.
Repentance is a progressive work. It begins in sorrow, but when it is complete, it produces a change of heart in the recipient’s life. Repentance is a very precious gift from God. Nevertheless, if we disdain the “hurt caused by Godly sorrow,” then when our time of correction comes, we will have contempt for the work of repentance. Solomon tells us in Proverbs 15 : 5, A fool despises his father's instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent. NKJV
Therefore, when the Lord deals with our hearts about “wrong thinking” or sin, we need to be humble before Him; however, if we choose not to be, we may misunderstand God’s attempt to correct, take it as rejection, and become angry. There is a very thin line between getting offended by the truth we hear and in being broken by that same truth, and then repenting. We’re told many times in the Word to remain broken before the Lord so that He can extend His grace to us. God loves to give grace to the humble, but He WILL oppose the proud.
Grateful for the Love of God,
Pastor Asa Dockery  

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