2 Corinthians 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
Repentance is a wonderful gift from the Holy Spirit to us. He takes our feet from the miry clay…..from drowning in our own choices……and He sets our feet on the Rock that can not move.
He convicts us of sin (which is a great mercy, otherwise we would continue in it to our hurt)….
….and by that conviction, He works the desire within us, to leave our sin.
Repentance is a turning from our sin….we bring it out into the light before God, and confess it…..then will to turn from it, and the habit of doing it…
….turning instead, to God.
(To turn from the sin, and the turning to God,…is once for all…..
….but the battle with the Adversary, often includes the day by day refusing to yield to the temptation….and getting the grace and help from the Holy Spirit at that time….
…..till the victory is complete…for God never leaves us in sin….but His deliverance is powerful and complete.)
True repentance is sorrow over the sin……
….not sorrow for ourselves…..or for the consequences of our sin.
True repentance leads us out of sin, and into a new life of victory.
But there is the sorrow of this world….
…..a sadness for our “mistakes”.
Seeing them as “wrongs”, “faults”,……which really blames our parents, our circumstances, and God….for making us what we are.
We are here, in this mess, because of them.
And there is another sorrow of this world…..a sorrow for what might happen because of our sin….
….this is not repentance….but self-pity.
These are “sorrows of this world, which worketh death”….for they do not lead to Christ….but to despair or resentment.
Let us again state: Repentance is a choice gift from the Holy Spirit.
It is a gift….it can be received and the fruit of that, is salvation in Christ.
Or it can be rejected, and the fruit of that, is self-importance….my opinion of myself or what I want, is more important than the truth of God in my life.
An example……Simon the sorcerer:
When persecution started against the believers in Jerusalem,….many left the city,…..and went other places, preaching the gospel.
This was the beginning of…”to all the world”.
Acts 8:5-6, 12 “Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
And the people of one accord gave heed unto those things which Phillip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
But when they believed Phillip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
Acts 8:9, 10 “But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.”
Simon was the big man of the city. He had influence, and by that influence….he had power.
The people there had thought that he had God’s power….but when the true power of God came, along with the preaching of Christ….
….then his power was shown for what it was….and many believed in the truth, and on Christ Jesus.
You might think that here was going to be the battle…
…but the battle was not outwardly….but inwardly…..in Simon.
Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Phillip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.”
This sounds wonderful….and it appeared that Simon was a true believer….but was he a believer in Christ….or in the miracles?
….For you can not reach out to Christ….
….without leaving your world behind…
…that is repentance.
When we say we believe in the Lord Jesus as our Lord, and Savior……then, soon, something will come up to show that….to evidence our faith (Hebrews 11:1)
And we will choose:
Christ and His Way…..or self, (self-glory, self-esteem, self-pity,….but self, in some form).
The Apostles, Peter and John, came down to Samaria, hearing the good news that had received Christ.
They prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit,….for it had not come upon them yet.
And when Simon saw that…
Acts 8:18-19 “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the Apostles hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.”
Now I would like to give Simon the benefit of the doubt…..
But this was exceedingly wicked…..
…….you can not purchase God, the Holy Spirit.
You can not put Him in your pocket and draw Him out….when you want to….like a servant to you…..no!
Simon only wanted to “use” the Holy Spirit, to make himself look powerful!
Peter, looking at Simon….got right to the heart of his problem: his heart had never been given to Christ….just to the power he had seen….
…secretly wanting it…..so he could be that important man in the city again.
Acts 8:20-21 “…..Thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchase with money.
Thou hast neither part or lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”
Nothing Simon had seen….the joy of people converted, the healing of the sick, the giving of the Holy Spirit….
….had drawn him away from lust of power….for himself over others….to make him the center of their lives.
What could be done?
Simon had never repented of his true life and lust….
….so Peter tells him to do so…there was hope, if he wanted it.
Acts 8:22-23. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God that perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness (a hardness of heart) and in the bond of iniquity (the lust of sin).”
Here is real mercy…..for to repent, is to clear away the old…..by confession to God……so that when we reach out to the new…..our hands are empty.
Acts 8:24 “Then answered Simon and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”
I want to tell you how sad this makes me…..
…Instead of being joyful that there was still the opportunity for repentance….
….Simon merely asks Peter to pray for him.
Not for the repentance….but that he would not suffer “these things”…..
….Oh, how much we lose when we do not repent.
Again, repentance is a choice gift from God to us…..by it, He takes our feet from the miry clay….from drowning in our own choices……and leads them to the Rock of Jesus Christ.
Are we receiving the Lord’s gift of repentance?
The Godly sorrow for a time, reaps eternal rewards, if we will have it.