I. THE SORROW OF THE WORLD. The ungodly may sorrow because they have sinned. But observe:
1. What are the characteristics of this sorrow. When the irreligious are rebuked and chastened for their wrong doing, their vanity is wounded, their anger is excited, their resentment is aroused, they are vexed because they lose the favour of their neighbours or suffer in reputation.
2. The issue of this sorrow is death; instead of being profitable, it is deleterious, drawing the thoughts away from the moral heinousness of sin, and confirming the sinner in courses whose only end is spiritual death.
II. THE SORROW WHICH IS GODLY.
1. This is occasioned by the recognition of the sin as an offence against the Divine Law. “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned.”
2. And by the feeling that sin is a grief to the Divine heart. As a tender child grieves to hurt his father’s spirit, so a truly sensitive nature is pained in the very pain of Christ.
3. And by the knowledge that human sin brought the holy Saviour to the cross.
4. And is heightened by the knowledge that privileges have been abused and grace defied.
III. THE REPENTANCE TO WHICH GODLY SORROW LEADS. It is a change of mind and purpose; a turning away from the error, the folly, the unbelief of the past, a turning away from temptation and from the society of the sinful, a turning to God as he has revealed in Christ his infinite mercy and loving-kindness. Especially is this repentance that “which bringeth no regret.” He who comes out of bondage into liberty can never rue his choice.
IV. THE ULTIMATE ISSUE OF TRUE REPENTANCE. This is salvation, which contrasts with that death to which worldly sorrow leads. Such is the appointment of Infinite Wisdom. And be who studies this process must acknowledge that, to a true and eternal salvation, there can be no other path than the path of repentance and of faith. – T.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Sorrow according to the will of God, tending to the glory of God, and wrought by the Spirit of God, renders the heart humble, contrite, submissive, disposed to mortify every sin, and to walk in newness of life. And this repentance is connected with saving faith in Christ, and an interest in his atonement. There is a great difference between this sorrow of a godly sort, and the sorrow of the world. – Matthew Henry