“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10.
Charles Spurgeon wrote a beautiful meditation on the passage above; here is part of it: “Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig.
“True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.
“True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.
You may not believe in sin, or that you have anything to repent of. If you think you have nothing to repent of, there are only a few possibilities: your standards are too low, your conscience is too weak, or you are perfect. You don’t have to believe in sin to believe that you have have acted wrongly, or given offense, or done anything that you should ask forgiveness for, but it helps. Why? Once again, I give you Spurgeon’s words:
“Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.”