Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation. It stirs up zeal to depart from iniquity, it touches the heart with the kindness of God for repentance, and it invigorates the soul with perseverance by which we will finish the race unto salvation!
Ungodly sorrow produces death. It produces a grief that effects no change, it produces a fear that places you under further bondage to sin, and it produces hopelessness by which you cannot escape the snare of the enemy and are defeated unto death! In ungodly sorrow is found a shame rooted in pride, rather than remorse and sincere repentance.
Ungodly sorrow is the kind of sorrow that mourns your personal loss, perhaps a porn addict mourning his addiction because his girlfriend caught and left him over his porn addiction. It’s this sorrow that lives in constant fear of being found out by the light (truth) and being exposed (convicted).
By this hellish sorrow men and women are engulfed in great darkness; they find themselves powerless to overcome sin because of their very own pride and selfishness– and the root of the worlds power over them is their love for the world.
In Godly sorrow is found a different kind of fear; of this fear the scripture says it is “the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 9:10), in it is “strong confidence” and “a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:26-27), and by it “one departs from evil” because of the atonement provided in mercy and truth (Prov. 16:6). This sorrow comes by the very Word of God, Living and powerful, able even to pierce the soul to the division of bone and marrow; by the conviction of the Holy Spirit one grieves his sin and departs it also by the conviction of the Holy Spirit in victory.
Yes, both Godly and ungodly sorrow may lead to a conviction of judgment, but by the heart one is betrayed, whether he loves righteousness and mourns sin, or whether he loves the world and despises judgment.
Godly sorrow, which is the prick of truth timely brought, produces earnest diligence and personal vindication! It brings indignation over sin and fear; by it the soul experiences deep longing for the Light and mighty zeal according to the true knowledge of God.
See how Godly sorrow always produces the rectification of wrongs, while ungodly sorrow does not; by ungodly sorrow one may experience shame, and seek to hide his face, but it does not bring rectification, nor can it.
Right now I want to speak to you all as my brothers and sisters: the thing that hinders you from examining yourself according to God’s word by the conviction of the Holy Spirit is not a Godly persuasion. That point where you refuse to come into the light and have your deeds exposed by the full truth of His Word is a point of sins deception in your life; it is a point where you have been deceived against the grace of God, which both reconciles us to Him and leads us to true repentance, and it is a point where you have been deceived against the power of Christ in your life, who is your Head, your Shepherd, your God and Savior, your King, and the only One appointed to bring everlasting life and reconciliation to God into this world. That point where you hide from the light is a point where you are under bondage to the enemy, Satan, and have already fallen into the snare of the devil. It’s a point where you’ve been deceived against the love of God poured out in the blood of Christ shed on a gruesome cross! It’s a point where you’ve been deceived into thinking that you don’t need earnest, diligent self-examination because everything is going to be “just fine” in the end, even though God’s word testifies that all who walk in iniquity and all who love the things of this world will perish into the everlasting torment. And, worse than that, it’s a point in which you’ve been deceived against God Himself to despise the judgment of God, saying that this is surely unjust!
Do you see? The things that hinder us from Godly sorrow are all the deceptions that raise us against the judgment of God, either in denying His reconciling grace by which we are born of the Seed of Christ in righteousness unto everlasting life (I pray you consider that sentence and not just read over it), or in denying the truth of His judgments by not knowing the terror of the Lord by which all men will be eternally judged, or our love for the world and the things of this world that harden us against His judgments; you love your nightlife more than walking in the Light of Christ, you love the fantasy of your movies more than the reality of communion with Christ, and you love all your cars, houses, technology, and money more than all the riches of Christ Jesus!
Truly, “whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:33).