In the first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul had corrected the church over a number of things. Of the things he corrected them for, the worse was that they had allowed an immoral person to be part of the congregation (1Cor 5:1, 2), and had not put judgment on his actions (1Cor 5:12).
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul records his rejoicing at the report that Titus brought him concerning the reaction to his letter, and how the church had godly sorrow and repentance for the things which they had allowed (2Cor 7:6-12).
Paul writes of the effects of their godly sorrow and what it produced in them. He notes what their repentance had worked in them.
In the middle of discussing the godly sorrow and repentance that the Corinthians had over their error, Paul lets us know that it is godly sorrow that works repentance unto salvation (2Cor 7:10). As Paul nowhere charged the church at Corinth with sin in their lack of judgment for not putting the immoral man out, I conclude that Paul is providing a related principle.
A person cannot be born again without repentance (Luk 13:3), and those that profess repentance must bring forth fruits consistent with repentance (Mat 3:8). Therefore, I do not think it is doing the Scriptures injustice to say that repentance is a fruit of godly sorrow, and godly sorrow is a fruit that is consistent with repentance.
If a person is not sorry after a godly sorrow for the wicked and carnal life they have lived, how can there be a change of mind and attitude (repentance) toward those very sins?
With the Corinthian’s godly sorrow and repentance, there came carefulness, clearing, indignation, fear, vehement desire, zeal, and revenge. I think it would be fair to also expect those things in someone that has godly sorrow and repentance unto salvation. When the heart is changed, a person’s actions and conduct will also be changed.
Let us look at some of the ways these fruits of repentance can be applied to a person that gets saved.
The newly saved will be careful to not fall back into sin and bring shame unto the holy cause of Christ. They will clear themselves of all things that are questionable. There will be an indignation toward the devil, the flesh, and the self-life that had caused them so much harm.
This indignation will bring a holy hatred against sin and will cause them, through the Spirit, to rule over the flesh and to take up their cross daily and deny themselves (Luk 9:23).
There will be a fear of displeasing the Lord and a fervent desire to please Jesus. There will also be a zeal to help others find what they have found in Jesus, and thereby to do damage and get revenge against the kingdom of darkness.
Those of us that are working to lead souls to Christ and help those who have either just gotten saved or have made a new start, need to have discernment and wisdom from the Lord to lead souls into the right way.
First and foremost, we must have these very things working in our own soul. A person that is binge-sinning every 3 or 4 months is in no condition to help anyone. Those who have lost their first love (Rev 2:4), and are filled with their own ways (Pro 14:14), will not be able to help others to get more than what they have themselves.
While God is calling for laborers in his vineyard, he wants those who gather to not scatter (Luk 11:23). May we pray to the Lord of harvest, that he send qualified laborers into his harvest field.