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.
Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry,
Paul rejoiced, not in the pain the church felt due to his letter but in the letter’s effect.
but that your sorrow led to repentance.
The apostle’s joy rested in the church’s repentance. The word “repentance” here carries the idea of a change of attitude. “Repentance” does not emphasize feeling but the mind, the perspective. Repentance is a change of mind about one’s sin, a turning from it to something else. The regret that leads to repentance is the only valid regret or sorrow.
For you were made sorry in a godly manner [according to God],
“In a godly manner” is literally according to the standard of God. The words “godly manner” indicate that Corinthian sorrow conformed to God’s standards. The church not only responded properly to Paul’s leadership but also to God Himself. When people see their sin in light of God’s Word, they genuinely do something about it. True repentance is to see sin as God sees it.
that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.
“That” indicates purpose. Paul’s letter did not lead to excessive discouragement but genuine repentance. Those who genuinely repent do not experience loss but spiritual gain. They confess their sin and put it away.
There is a difference between remorse and repentance.
Remorse often feels guilty because of the disclosure of sin; repentance turns from sin because it violates a holy God. The former concerns itself with the consequences of sin and the latter with one’s relation with God. The difference is between self-pity and taking action about one’s sin. Godly sorrow rectifies the wrong.
There is no merit in simple grief over one’s sin. A person may regret or be remorseful about sin but never turn from the sin. It is necessary to make a clean-cut break with the sin. Sorrow without God’s solution is dead-end remorse.