Godly Sorrow vs. Worldly Sorrow

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 7:2-16

Topics: Confession, Forgiveness

Study Guide

At this point in 2 Corinthians, Paul acknowledges a previous “severe” letter he sent the Corinthian church to correct some sinful patterns. Although this letter initially created tension, Paul rejoices in those who have repented. He goes on to explain the importance of godly sorrow that leads us to true confession and repentance.
Application
  1. The church is not primarily a place of comfort—it is a place of growth. God often uses pain as a catalyst for our growth. In the past, how have you responded when someone pointed out a painful truth about you? Were you able to grow from that experience?

  2. The distinction between admitting wrong, confessing, and repenting is vital for our growth as believers. How have you misunderstood these terms in the past? How can a true understanding help you grow?

  3. Consider the past five years of your life. Is there obvious fruit of confession and repentance? Do other people believe in the work of God that’s going on inside of you? Why or why not?

  4. Is there someone whom you need to help move towards repentance? Are you willing to love them in the way that Paul loved the Corinthians more than himself? What will that look like?

Key Points
  • Even as Paul acknowledges the past sins of the believers at Corinth—and his severe rebuke—he rejoices in their repentance.

  • Paul loves the Corinthians more than himself. He was willing to risk their relationship in order to help them grow. We must also be aware that correction is an integral part of discipleship and life change.

  • Being confronted with our own sin is painful, but it is a necessary catalyst for growth. We must lean into godly sorrow.

  • Confession is more than simply admitting wrongdoing—it is agreeing with the biblical community around you and God’s view of your sin.

  • While confession involves words, repentance involves action and takes place over time. We must continually evaluate the fruit of repentance in our lives.

  • Although we often want to feel repentant before moving away from sin and towards God, we must choose obedience first. God will energize our souls to a new way of living after we yield our words and actions to him.