It’s hard to hear the word grace without thinking of perhaps the most beloved hymn of all time: Amazing Grace. The hymn was one of 280 songs composed by John Newton, a man whose entire life was transformed by grace.
Newton lost his mother when he was only 7 years old and then spent his teenage years and early twenties in constant trouble and on the run from the law. In his own words he said, “I sinned with a high hand and made it my study to seduce others.”
Later in life Newton served as the captain of various slave trading ships. He participated in destroying people’s lives and thought nothing of it. Then one day the reality of God’s grace overwhelmed him and Newton became a fully committed disciple, left the slave industry and was ordained as a minister.
As a pastor, he wrote more than 280 different hymns for his church to sing on Sundays, but none resonated with his church or with Christians throughout history as much as his famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
Read the words of this hymn again, mindful of Newton’s powerful encounter with grace and the change God made in his life:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
Take away: What change has God’s grace brought about in your life? What change does God still want His grace to bring about in your life?