The Benefits Of Repentance
2 Corinthians 7:11
"For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
This passage is about the elements of repentance; or it might be stated - the products of repentance. And once we become acquainted with this, we understand the importance of this act and the joy it causes in heaven and in God's kingdom here.
In the church at Corinth there was an individual offender who needed specific attention (see 1 Cor. 5). But also, any who were guilty of the misbehavior named in the First Corinthian letter needed to repent. When Paul, through Titus, learned that some had repented, he expressed his joy. And in that celebration he names some of the key elements in genuine repentance:
DILIGENCE - one good result of repentance is more diligence. It was carelessness that got us into sin. When we regain a sense of wisdom and humility with godly sorrow, leading to repentance, we are then more careful or diligent about our thoughts and behavior before God. Genuine repentance produces this good fruit - diligence.
A CLEARING OF YOURSELVES - in order to be cleared (forgiven, justified), we must repent. Time has no redemptive value. When the misdeeds of public figures are brought to light, the argument is often made that "it happened so many years ago." Yet time has no redemptive power at all. In order to be cleared, we must repent. It is a great benefit of repentance to be cleared of wrongdoing.
INDIGNATION - disapproval of sin. In sin, we suffer a loss of shame and indignation. But upon repentance, we regain that healthy sense of disdain and indignation toward everything that offends God.
FEAR - a healthy fear we need to have about offending God. Do you know one problem today is, people have a fear of fear!! Fear gets a lot of negative, undeserved press these days. Books are written and seminars are conducted to help you eradicate fear. Well, there are some fears we shouldn't have - but let's not just get down on fear all together. In the Bible, there is a healthy, godly, constructive fear that pleases God, builds character and is part of saving faith! This kind of fear is renewed in us when we repent.
So let us repent when we sin. For repentance works in us these great things. "For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication!"
By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 6.11; November 1999