10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
10 For godly sorrow produces [works out] repentance
Genuine sorrow, a “godly sorrow,” produces a change of mind that takes action about one’s sin. Godly sorrow produces repentance. Repentance is a coming to God’s mind on things.
leading to salvation,
Godly grief leads to positive change. “Salvation” here is not the eternal salvation of the soul from sin but the rescue of the church from conflict. There is nothing in the context that indicates Paul referred to eternal salvation; the issue was the salvation of shattered relationships between Paul’s team and the Corinthian church.
not to be regretted;
There is no regret in genuine repentance.
but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Pure emotional sorrow without repentance produces spiritual death, which manifests itself in self-pity and wounded pride. This sorrow results in shame, guilt, and despair.
There are two kinds of grief.
There are two kinds of grief—godly and ungodly. The grief of the world produces death. Worldly sorrow often looks genuine, but it is deadly to the spiritual life. Godly grief moves one to action. It will not fester in resentment and retaliation. Repentance has the effect of bringing remedial restoration to the believer.
Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8