2 CORINTHIANS 7
9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
No man should be condemned without the fullest opportunity of answer, whatever his crime may be. If on a proper hearing, he is found guilty, the apostolic rule requires that he should be
"rebuked before all that others also may fear" (1 Tim. v. 20).
If he defends his sin, or is without token of repentance, the same rule requires that he should be repudiated in all spiritual and social relations (Matt. xviii. 17; 2 Cor. ii. 7). But it does not require this line of action if there is manifest repentance. If he confesses and forsakes his sin, he is to have mercy (Prov. xxviii. 13) for
"all manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men but the sin against the Holy Spirit" (Matt. xii. 31).
If duly sensible of his offence, he is to be forgiven and comforted,
"lest such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow" (2 Cor ii.7).
This is according to the character of God revealed so abundantly, leading Him to say in Ezekiel, that
"he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that he should turn and live"
(Ezek. xviii. 23).
The Christadelphian, Jan 1898
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
The second epistle was written after Paul had received word through Titus that the Corinthians had finally responded to Paul's exhortations and entreaties with an intense reaction of sorrow, affection, self-purification.
People are strange creatures -- ourselves included. Enlightened believers are a combination of two powerful forces: the ugliness of the flesh from beneath, and the beauty of the Spirit from above. We can swing from one extreme to another, according to which is in the ascendancy.
Paul was able, by warning, entreaty, and loving persuasion, to bring the mind of the Spirit back on top in Corinth.
It is a matter of what our mind is focused on -- what it is tuned in to -- what it is giving heed to: the natural motions of the flesh within, or the facts, truths, promises, instructions, evidences in the Word --
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17)
-- and faith (trust, assurance, conviction) is the power-link between the mind of God and the well-springs of conduct and action within us.
Metanoia - Thinking WITH Yahweh
The apostle did not say that godly sorrow produced repentance in an unjustified, or unbelieving sinner. He refers to the effect of sorrow according to God on the minds of saints in Corinth, who, before they had obeyed the gospel of the kingdom, had been the subjects of that condition of mind called metanoia. It was not "sorrow" of any sort that produced this prebaptismal metanoia; but speech and preaching in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, producing faith unfeigned and obedience, by which they were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
... metanoia ... in ignorant sinners...results from the opening of their eyes after the apostolic method so amply illustrated in Acts... I repeat with Paul that it is "the goodness of God" apprehended, and not sorrow of any sort, that "leadeth to metanoia."
An incestuous brother appeared among them. His iniquity was reported to Paul; and that while it existed among them, instead of mourning on account of it, some were glorying in Paul, others in Apollos, others in Peter, others in Christ; others because of certain gifts; thus they were puffed up for one against another. This both grieved and angered the apostle, and caused him to write his first letter to them, rebuking them sharply, that they might return to their former condition before God.
The letter produced the effect he desired. He had shown them the mind of God with respect to them, which when they understood caused great sorrow. The apostle did not rejoice at this, but that they sorrowed into thinking with God upon the case of their incestuous brother, so as to approve themselves to be clear in the matter. Thus "sorrow in accordance with God worketh a thinking with (him) into a salvation not to be regretted."
...In the case of the saints in Corinth, the sonship of metanoia may be granted.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1854
16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
The Corinthians were for the moment purged, and re-established on a sound foundation, and reunited to Paul, but their continued stability was by no means assured. The flesh, though temporarily dethroned and restrained, is never dead. They had to be regrounded with strong evidence they would remember.