Paul writes of two types of sorrows in this passage, Godly sorrow and the sorrow of the world. They also have two different results. Many times, we see the ones that we love struggle because they never have a Godly sorrow, many times we struggle also, for the same reason. Hopefully we can glean some truth from this passage that will help us all.
Paul is talking to the Corinthian church concerning the fornicator in [1 Cor.5:1-13]. Now in this second letter, he had asked them to forgive the man, [2 Cor.2:1-8]. They did just that, and now he is really pleased with their results, [2 Cor.7:8-11].
The Sorrow of the World
You are sorry for what you have done or just sorry you got caught [2 Cor.7:8] [Ex. 9:27] Pharaoh
[Num. 22:34] Balaam
[Matt.27:3-5] Judas, so sorry for what he had done, he hanged himself, truly an example that the sorrow of the world worketh death.
We see this all the time, have you ever heard?
I’ve made a mess of things, I have ruined my life, my life is totally messed up, I’m a failure, Life is not worth living, I wish I was dead. Suicide or drugs and alcohol complete the “worketh to death”
The sorrow of the world will cause you to try to straighten things out yourself. When you continue to do the same things over and over and expect different results, that’s the definition of insanity.
You are sorry over what you are.
[Isa. 6:5] Isaiah
[Matt. 26:75] Peter was sorry for what he was. Later he met up with the Lord, [Jn.20], repented, and went on to do great things for the Lord. A great example of a Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. (note: salvation here doesn’t have anything to do with being saved or eternal life, it refers more to the salvation of his walk with the Lord)
Godly sorrow sounds like this:
I ‘ve never been any good, I’m no good right now, I’m never going to be any good. At my best I’m not worth shooting, unless you do something for me, God, and to me, and with me. Without you I can do nothing.
Godly sorrow will always cause you to flee to God alone for help. That always work! It did for the Corinthian church.
The Right Results: [Verse 11] What Godly sorrow shows God:
You are careful to do the right thing
You clear the charges brought against you by God by showing your disapproval of sin
You show your anger over sin
You prove your fear of God
You accomplish something with great desire and zeal that is not easy to deal with
Vengeance showed the legitimate discipline required.
God will be well pleased when we sorrow after a godly sort.