Nov 3

There’s a lot going on between Paul and the Corinthians. We don’t know all the specifics. We don’t even have all the correspondence. But the correspondence we do have tells us they had quite a relationship, and Paul had a lot of concern for them. They sometimes came through, and sometimes not so much.

One of the times they did come through involved their response to his pleading in writing a difficult letter to them, challenging them to repent and act faithfully.

Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 12 So even though I wrote to you, it was neither on account of the one who did the wrong nor on account of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. 13 By all this we are encouraged… (2 Cor. 7)

While I enjoy thinking about what was going on with Paul and the Corinthians I’m more concerned with what’s going on between us and God. And how good we are doing with this whole Godly sorry and true repentance thing. It’s not God’s intention to make us unhappy. But it is God’s intention (and should be ours as well) to make those who are away from Him and acting against His will—that’s called sinning, by the way—to feel unhappy and sorrowful about their actions—er, sins.

If you are unhappy because you are not living faithfully, good! Now do something about it! Don’t try to justify it, and come up with some rationalization why it’s okay, that it’s really not sinful, in spite of what the Bible says. Acknowledge that your priorities are different than what God wants them to be, or that your behavior contradicts the teaching of Scripture, or whatever in your life is outside of God’s will, and work toward changing that. Interestingly enough, until you do those things, you will not be what you say you want to be—happy; you will not have what you say you seek—joy.

David understood this. Do you? Can you say this with David?

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32)

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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