Good Grief

Read: 2 Corinthians 7:2-13

Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation. (v. 10)

In recent years, protests have erupted across America. Depending on which side of an issue you identify with, you’ll consider a given protest needlessly destructive or justifiably disruptive. But at its best, protest takes on the shape of lament: honest assessment of, and grief over, what is wrong with the world.

As believers in Jesus, we know our world isn’t as it should be. In Romans 8, Paul argues that every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and that we “who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for [our] . . . redemption” (v. 23). The Spirit’s restlessness for the restoration of creation provokes self-reflection in us and, according to Paul, produces sorrow. And this sorrow leads to repentance: a change of mind and a change of direction.

God’s gift is that Spirit-inspired grief always comes with grace. Thanks to Christ’s death on the cross, the Spirit’s confrontation brings no condemnation, only conviction. The change God’s Spirit demands is change he enables. The Spirit makes us restless for change, and then moves us toward his vision of new creation.

If you’re restless with the state of your world, take heart. The Spirit of the living God is restless, and he shares his restless heart with all who believe. At the same time, allow his irresistible redemptive impulse to work from the inside out—conforming you first to Christ’s righteousness, then calling you as an agent of restoration in creation.

As you pray, ask the Spirit to make you restless and give you rest.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series 2 Corinthians: Shining through the Cracks