All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

“You Really Stepped On My Toes!”

If you have said this to a Bible class teacher, or an evangelist after a lesson or sermon; you are not alone. It is something that is vocalized a great deal, when the truth of God’s word disciplines or chastises us (Hebrews 12:7-11).

The Apostle Paul recognized by the report that he received from Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6-7), that the Christians in Corinth had also probably vocalized a similar feeling after the first letter he wrote to them was read, note:

2 Corinthians 7:8-12 For even 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. 9 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. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 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. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.”

With all this said, Paul does make known something more important than just a sorrowful guilt. For the fact of the matter is; godly sorrow is not repentance!

It can lead to repentance in the individual who is honest and really wishes to please God!

However, we know that Judas was sorry that he had betrayed the Lord; however, rather than repentance, he went out and compounded his transgression by killing himself (Matthew 27:3-5), so that the Lord would refer to him as the “son of perdition” (destruction – John 17:12).

Paul is revealing that unless the guilt is coupled with true repentance, it does not lead to salvation (Vs. 10). We can clearly see that true repentance is much more than just turning; it is in fact embodied in the following active terms (Vs. 11):

Diligence: An earnest endeavor, or a hastening to do a thing in the direction away from that which caused the sorrowful guilt, and a continued pursuit towards that which is pleasing towards God. See: 2 Peter 1:5.

Clearing: A proclamation of innocence from an accusation, to now be seen in clarity or in a fresh light (translated, “clearly seen” in Romans 1:20).

Indignation: In this case this word is very closely related to ‘anger’; and is used in the sense of anger directed towards self for the disappointing behavior that led to the sorrowful condition. See: Hebrews 10:27; used to describe God’s attitude for those who are un-willing to repent from willful transgression.

Fear: A reverent respectful fear of being displeasing to God. See Hebrews 10:27.

Vehement Desire: Intensity of emotion or conviction towards something worthy or approved by God through Christ to desire! See: 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Zeal: A fervent mind towards service to God! Zealousness alone, without the proper guidance is not being approved here. In this instance, the zealous practice is now directed by the stern words that have educated their conscience towards what is truly pleasing to God! Paul defined earlier in this letter that his conscience was directed by the grace of God, not worldly wisdom, demanding that an educated conscience is the zealous guide (2 Corinthians 1:12)!

Vindication: By definition, this is closely associated with “clearing”; however, in the additional sense of the “newness of life” that the post baptized believer similarly knows – Romans 6:3-4. This is the after effect of the forgiveness of sins as a benefit for the repentant servant of God through Jesus Christ, note:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So, the next time the word of God steps all over your toes; use that godly sorrow to accomplish true repentance in these peaceable fruits of righteousness – Hebrews 12:11!

Here’s to Sore Toes!