For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10
Have you ever seen someone making the wrong move in their life, a relationship or career and reached out to offer guidance and direction only to be disappointed they continued down the same path of destruction that ended in disaster and some tough consequences? I have and the reason I knew it was the wrong move was usually because I had made the same mistake myself and wanted to save someone else from having to learn the hard way like I did.
I wish I had been able to have a firm grasp on this verse 15-20 years ago. Better late than never, I guess. There were three main things that I grabbed from this scripture and it’s related content this week.
1. The Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 7:10 for repentance is metanoia and it means “to change your mind.” I also stopped on the word salvation and pondered its definition because we use this word a lot in “Christianity” but I wonder if we always consider the depth of its meaning. Salvation is the deliverance from sin through our belief in Christ. Essentially, when our grief from sin makes us change our course of action, we have no regrets or doubts about being delivered from sin through Christ.
It’s like when you are traveling, thinking or acting in one way and decide to do a complete turnaround and go or act in a completely different one. This turnaround is what happens to the hearts of those who truly believe in the gift of salvation. The fact that the Creator of the Universe, of all we see and don’t see, sent His only Son to die a criminal’s death, so all our sin could be covered and taken away, changes you. And if it doesn’t, I don’t think we really get it. I know I didn’t REALLY get it until about the age of 32.
2. We shouldn’t cry a bucket of tears, ask forgiveness and then get up and continue down the same path of sin, but I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of this. In my earlier years, I would come home, repent of my sinful actions and then go out and do it again the next weekend. Back then, I had the excuse of not really getting it. But, as an adult, even after truly finding Christ, I still mess things up. I can fall into the trap of judgment or gossip, repent and fall in again. Not as fast or without a fight, but I still fall. Although I’m far from perfect, my desire to improve and turn away from sin leads to “salvation without regret.” After reading the Bible for many years, I truly understand the gift of my salvation and that it doesn’t make me perfect, but gives me a strong desire for “metanoia.”
3. What shines the brightest for me in this verse is that as Christians, it’s our belief in Jesus Christ that leads to repentance, which then leads to a desire to turn away from sin. But, for those seeking or lost, I think our focus can sometimes be on the wrong thing. As much as we want others to stop and turn away from sin and painful paths, we can’t change the hearts of others. We can’t make them choose a better path if they don’t want to. We can’t force them to be kind, compassionate, honest, to have integrity, rid themselves of narcissism or addiction, BUT God can. The truth of His salvation can.
Sure, we may all have moments of regret over sinful nature, but until we grasp salvation and believe it is ours, it’s difficult to make a turnaround. For it’s Christ and the gift of salvation that leads to true repentance and change. So, maybe, just maybe . . . we should step back from some people in our lives and shine the light of Christ into the situation through prayer and see if God can do His work. For it’s only through Him we turn around and experience true “metanoia.”