Summary: None of us are getting out of this life alive. But how can we live our one and only lives in a way that will result in us having no regrets when we come to the end of our life? Jesus will help us to live in a continual state of repentance. Resting in His forgiveness and letting Him live His life through us will result in no regrets with our selves.
Big Idea: Through repentance, we live in the forgiveness Jesus gives, enabling us to have no regrets with our selves.
Ice-breaker question: Have you ever had someone confront you about something wrong you had done and you did not want to hear that at the time, but later you realized that they were correct and you made a change in your life as a result?
Background: The first-century Corinthian church sprung up in a thoroughly pagan context. Therefore, it should not surprise us that there were a lot of spiritual growing pains in the church, which Paul addressed in his first letter to the Corinthian church (see 1 Cor. 5). In this subsequent letter, Paul shares his joy with the Corinthians and with us over the results: godly sorrow over Paul’s rebuke led to godly repentance.
Paul is writing to Corinth from Macedonia. That was where Titus met Paul and comforted him and his companions with the good news of repentance in the Corinthian church.
Read: 2 Corinthians 7:5-16
- What troubles did Paul and his traveling companions encounter in Macedonia?
- In verse 6, Paul gives a general statement, “God … comforts the downcast,” then gives a specific way that God did that through Titus. Why was Paul downcast?
- How did God comfort Paul through the coming of Titus?
- Paul says that the people of the Corinthian church had longing, deep sorrow and ardent concern for Paul. In your own words, how would you describe how the Corinthian Christians felt about Paul?
- How do you think Paul felt about them?
- Do you think that the special relationship between Paul and the Corinthian Christians was much of a factor in their repentance? Why?
- In verse 10, Paul makes a distinction between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow spills us into one of two ditches: either we are sorrow over getting caught and facing the consequence, but there is no realization of guilt and sorrow for sin; or we are overwhelmed by our guilt and shame, but there is no faith to see the promise of forgiveness through Jesus that pulls us up out of the ditch and back on the road of right relationship with God.
Godly sorrow admits the truth of our guilt, turns away from the sin that caused it, and clings to Jesus and the free and full forgiveness that He gives us.
Judas Iscariot, after his betrayal of Jesus, is an example of a person with worldly sorrow and Peter, after his denial of Jesus is an example of godly sorrow.
If you are familiar with the biblical accounts about Judas and Peter, share with the rest of the group any similarities or differences Judas and Peter may have had.
8.Repentance means “to have a change of heart or mind, to turn around.”
Imagine that your doctor tells you that you have a terminal illness and need major surgery very soon or you will lose your life. You reject her words and storm out of her office.
The doctor is offering to give you the life-saving surgery that you need, but none of that will happen if you don’t have a change of heart and mind and turn around from the direction you are heading.
In the same way, Jesus is offering to give to us sin-soaked sinners for free the forgiveness, salvation and eternal life that we desperately need. But none of that will happen if we don’t have a change of heart and mind and turn around from the direction we are heading. Why can’t we keep going our own way and still be saved?
9.In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther wrote in response to the question, “What is Confession?”
Confession consists of two parts: one, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the pastor or confessor as from God himself, and in no way doubt, but firmly believe that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.
Which do you think is harder for us human beings to do, to confess our sins, or to firmly believe that our sins are forgiven by God?
10.What is one thing that you can do this week to help you to repent more readily and accept forgiveness from Jesus more easily than you do now?