Thursday, 17 September 2015
Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 2 Corinthians 7:9
Paul now introduces repentance of the Corinthians into his thoughts. Unfortunately, the KJV makes the entire thought convoluted by using the term “repent” in both the previous verse and this one –
“For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.”
However, two different words are used in verses 8 and 9. The “repent” of verse 8, is more appropriately “regret.” Now in verse 9, it is correctly rendered “repentance.” This might seem like hair-splitting, but Paul is making a point concerning emotions and doctrine which needs to be carefully worded.
He begins with the thought, “Now I rejoice.” His heart has been made to flow with joy because of the situation at hand. The letter had made the Corinthians become sorrowful and to regret their actions. Now, to ensure that they understand that he wasn’t happy about their sorrow, but rather the regret which the sorrow led to, he adds in, “…not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance.” In regretting their actions, they had in turn repented of them.” This is the intent of discipline and words of correction, and in this case it has worked.
To show this, he says, “For you were made sorry in a godly manner.” There are different reasons for sorrow. In the case of what has occurred, their sorrow is based on a right response to proper chastisement. All we need to do is think of our own children. If we punish them for stealing, they will be sorrowful. If they repent of their stealing and steal no longer, then they have united their regret with true repentance. This is the same line of thought that Paul conveys here. The parents aren’t happy about their child’s sorrow, but they are happy about what the sorrow has led to.
Paul finishes this thought with, “… that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.” What he is saying is that no true harm came to the Corinthians by Paul’s letter of correction. Rather than loss, it is the intent of him and the other apostles that they receive gain, not suffer loss. When correction is properly acted upon, then gain is the result. Such is the case now with the Corinthians.
Life application: It can be difficult to punish those around us that we love. But it is at times necessary. Children need right direction and even stern correction to keep them from straying into even worse situations. Those in the church will likewise need correction when they stray from what is acceptable to the Lord as is revealed in His word. When a pastor or group of church members has determined correction is necessary, be ready to evaluate the situation and support the decision if it is truly in line with precepts laid out in the Bible.
Heavenly Father, how difficult it is to receive correction for things we have done wrong, but Your word tells us that we should rejoice when we are chastened because You are dealing with us as sons. You discipline us according to what is best and never out of vindictiveness. Thank You for Your kind hand of correction up us. Help us to take such times in the proper light and to adjust our actions so that we are completely pleasing to You. Amen.