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Godly Sorrow for Sin

(The following is the April 2 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Luke 22 and pay close attention to verses 54-62.)

Sin in a Christian’s life should cause deep sorrow. A growing Christian who lives in a close relationship with Christ and desires obedience to his Word won’t have a cavalier attitude about sin. Sin is serious business. It separates fallen humanity from a holy God and sends people to Hell for eternity.

Our involvement with sin following repentance and faith must not look the same as before we came to Christ. If we sin in the same ways with the same frequency and enthusiasm as before we professed Christ, we should take Paul’s advice and “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5).

A painful but helpful indicator that we are in the faith is when our sin grieves us. This grief shows the Holy Spirit is at work. It doesn’t remove sin’s sting, but “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (2 Cor. 7:10). Just as Peter wept bitterly upon realizing he denied knowing Jesus three times, we should grieve when we deny our Lord. How do we deny him? All sins we commit are against God (Ps. 51:4), including those we think are private.

Thankfully, godly sorrow is not the end of the story when we sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Christ forgives every true believer’s sins, but that does not mean we no longer need to confess them. We should admit to God what he already knows to restore our damaged walk with him.

Peter’s denial of Jesus was horrible, but Christ loved him enough to restore him later. He also loves us enough to restore our relationship when we come to him with sorrow for sin.

Next Step:

When did you last experience godly sorrow for sin? Can you recall recent sins that should have resulted in grief but did not? What do these experiences tell you about your relationship with Christ?

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