This follows nicely on our study from last night. Here’s some more on repentance from Thomas Oden:
Repentance requires a decisive reversal of the previous sin-laden course of mind, heart, and will.
The reversal does not occur without first a change of mind, a revised conception of oneself, utilizing one’s own best moral reasoning to recognize the intolerable cost of sin. But where the reversal touches the mind but not the heart and will, the despair of sin deepens.
Repentance requires a change of heart, a deep sorrowing for sin, aware that sin, whether personal or social, is in actual fact sin against God who gives humans freedom (Psalm 51:4). Far more than a mode of analytical reasoning, repentance is a deeply felt remorse and emotively experienced regret over wrongs done voluntarily against others, offending one’s own integrity and dignity and finally offending God (Isaiah 57:15).
True penitence is a grieving over one’s alienated self and broken relationships, a loathing of sin and godly sorrow for irresponsibility, a heavy feeling of condemnation that intends to have a constructive effect by changing character and habit. [ from Classic Christianity by Thomas Oden, (p. 568)]
It’s not bad to experience deep feelings of sorrow over our sin. In fact, it seems to be a necessary experience to go through if we really want to “get it” and repent.
…Which seems to be what the Holy Spirit was getting at, when the apostle Paul was writing his second letter to the Corinthian church, and he wrote this:
“If I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 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. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 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.”