The Sorrows of the Spirit

Sharing Options

We have asked what the difference is between being humbled and being discouraged. The first thing we considered is the difference between thinking about dishonor to God and discomfort for oneself. But there is more to this.

Another difference is that we find truth in the gospel paradox that teaches us to respond to them quite differently. A godly man can be humbled for sin, however small it is, and a godly man will not be discouraged for sin, however great it is. In the other direction, an ungodly man will be discouraged over sin, however small, and he will not be humbled for sin, however great.

The Holy Spirit is called the Comforter by the Lord Jesus, and one of the central offices of this Comforter is to convict men of sin (John 16:7-8). But this means that true conviction of sin is a comfort. It means that humbling for sin and rejoicing over forgiveness go quite well together. But a man cannot be discouraged and rejoice at the same time—they are polar opposites. The Bible teaches this plainly. There is sorrow that leads only to death, and there is sorrow that leads to a regret-free forgiveness (2 Cor. 7:10). One of those sorrows is the gift of the Spirit, and the other is entirely of the flesh. God did not send His Spirit into the world so that we might learn how to feel sorry for ourselves. We already had that down.


The more you are humbled for sin, the more joy you have. The more you are discouraged over sin, the less joy you have.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments