Monday, August 24, 2009

Last Night While I Was Preaching

Many times while I am preaching the Spirit will give me insights into the word which did not come out of my study. I spend a lot of time working on the background and history and meaning of a passage. Sometimes I think I know it all. Then something like last night happened.

The text for the evening was II Corinthians 7:8-16. The theme was that God regrets nothing, and we can regret nothing either if we move through repentance to rejoicing. It is in verse 11 that Paul describes godly sorrow. I had done word studies on all 7 of the things that he lists in this verse, but as I was preaching I began to see the true and real value of repentance in a way I had never seen it before. What I saw was that by moving through repentance we get these things, and we won't get them if we hold on to our sins.

It's not "religiously correct" in much of America today to talk much about repentance anymore, but this verse tells us what we get from it:

Earnestness - the ability to be able to be sincere in front of others without putting up a front.

Vindication - being able to defend ourselves against the charges of the accuser.

Indignation - we now feel the proper attitude toward sin.

Fear - we respect God as we should and have a proper assessment of who He is.

Longing - we have a real desire to be with God as a person, something we would not have if we were afraid to appear before the judgment seat.

Zeal - this is an enthusiasm for something outside yourself beyond the measure of your own feelings or abilities; it is our zeal for the things of God which is activated after we have moved through repentance.

Avenging of wrong - this doesn't mean that we become vigilantes with "Lone Ranger" masks (I'm telling my age on that one), but that we are properly able to dispose of things. In a sense the only real way to avenge a wrong is to deal with it like God does. That is to forgive it.

NONE OF THESE THINGS will we be capable of doing until we pass through godly sorrow over sin and deal with it and get it out of the way.

Maybe none of this is new to you, and I'm sure I'm not expressing it as forthrightly or completely as I did last night, but if you had been there you might have seen the dawn of realization in my face as I preached these things.


  1. I'd love for you to expand on Godly Sorrow. I've read John piper's works and i believe he has referenced this in one of his books. (i'll have to go back and see)

  2. Godly Sorrow is in some ways the prequel to Repentance. If we don't have it we won't even feel the need to repent. It is contrasted to worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow is only concerned with the consequences of an act (such as getting caught or punished) and wishing that those consequences had been otherwise. Godly Sorrow is a true sorrow that the act itself was done and comes with a resolve to repent (turn 180 degrees) from the sin and focus totally on God regardless of the cost or consequences of that repentance simply because the repentance itself is right.

    At least that's part of how I explained it in the message last night.

  3. I love when this happens to you, when you receive a divine revelation of a Scripture right on the spot as you preach--what fun!