Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 15 – Godly Grief And Repentance

“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Cor. 7:9,10

Devotional Thought For The Day

This is important for us to understand, that not all grief is the same.  In fact, grief can lead a person back to God, or grief can lead a person to death.  The apostle is not talking about various causes of our grief, but rather the grief that comes from understanding and knowing about our sin.  Likewise, he is not distinguishing “kinds” of grief, but rather how such grief over our sin is processed and what direction it is taking us.  The difference is who is leading the grief, the Holy Spirit, OR the evil one.  In that we all have such sin, and generally some remorse for it, we will often have these two paths to choose from, and two forces offering to lead us.  One path leads to salvation, the other leads to death.

Luther had it right when he identified the method by which the evil one attacks us and tries to lead us to death.  He wrote about temptations to great shame and vice [common sins], which are then followed by the temptation to despair – to doubt God’s gracious mercy, forgiveness, and love.  Human beings, for the most part, cannot live in despair for very long.  Some kill themselves, like Judas did, but most choose a different option.  Even in despair we have two choices – return to God in godly repentance and receive His blessed forgiveness and cleansing, OR latch on to some false hope, that we can make up for our sins with some good work or some good intention or even if we feel sorry enough, or that our sins are not all that serious, that God will grade us on a curve and we’ll come out all right.  We know where such “guidance” toward this misbelief comes from – the evil one; we also know Who is guiding us back to godly grief that “produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” – the Holy Spirit of God.

God is not happy if we are simply grieved, but rather that our grief over our sin would lead us to repentance, godly repentance that leads to the cross of His beloved Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The assurance of God’s forgiveness, that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL sin leaves us “without regret.”  Though we still regret the sin and evil we have committed, we are comforted and strengthened by God’s love for us.  This alone motivates us to greater love and commitment to what is good and right – “we love because He first loved us.”  This is God’s will and the final outcome He desires for all of us – that through repentance we find His gracious mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and put our full faith, trust, and confidence in Him.

So it is important for us to be discerning about these things when we properly grieve over our sins and failings.  Knowing where the evil one will be leading us – to despair, and then ultimately to some form of misbelief, enables us the identify him and his influence, and to reject him.  Knowing the will of God, that we confess our sins and receive His full pardon and forgiveness for all our sins enables us to identify the leading of the Holy Spirit of God.  It is bad enough that we have sinned – it would be absurd to multiply that sin with despair [unbelief] and misbelief, and refusing the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  So we pray God to deliver us from all such temptations of the evil one, and to strengthen and preserve us in our faith and trust in Him, so that day by day we have that “godly grief” which “produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, the utter darkness of our sinful nature is seen not in the evils we commit, but in our unwillingness to live by Your gracious forgiveness and mercy alone, and to cling instead to some misbelief.  Preserve us from all such temptations, and keep us in godly repentance that relies upon Your gracious love alone.  In this way keep us in the way of salvation, that we have no regret but only Your comfort.  Amen.