"For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death" (2 Corinthians 7:10).

There are two kinds of sorrow for sin, one is the abhorrence of the thing itself, and this will be very keen in the heart that fears the Lord, and is centred in Christ; indeed, it is this heart alone that will sorrow rightly because of sin.

The second is the sorrow that goes with the fear of the consequences, and not because of the hatefulness of the sin itself. This is an entirely selfish experience, it is not "godly sorrow that works repentance to salvation not to be repented of," but it is the sorrow of the world which works death (2 Cor. 7:10). In this sorrow the devil seems very near to mock the soul in its distress, and increase its fears, as again and again the vow is made that, if the consequences can be escaped, that particular snare will be avoided in the future; he can mock confidently, for, he knows as long as the soul is self-centred there will be a return to the special besetment, as the dog returns to its vomit.

Despair does not enter into true sorrow for sin, for along and with it there is a sense of the nearness of the Lord. He stands by in tender grace to lead the soul into full restoration to Himself. Sin appears in its exceeding sinfulness in contrast to His faithfulness and love; His grace becomes a greater reality than ever; the sin is confessed and forgiven; the root of it exposed and judged; and the soul is cleansed from all unrighteousness.