Grace For The Journey
John Newton started out as a slave trader, commanding an English slave ship at the age of 25. When his ship nearly sank during a violent storm that battered his vessel, he looked toward heaven and cried out to Jesus.
Throughout his life he wrote hundreds of hymns, the most famous, of course, being “Amazing Grace.” Written from personal experience, John Newton lived out the Gospel truth that forgiveness and redemption are always possible, regardless of the depths of one’s sin-filled life.
Physically blind at the age of 82, his memory and his health fading, Newton told a friend, “My memory is nearly gone. But I remember two things:
That I am a great sinner
Christ is a great Savior.”
On his tombstone are these words, “John Newton . . . once an infidel was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.”
John Newton sure found the key to life! He knew what he was and he knew what God in Christ had done for him. He knew he was a great sinner, by nature and by habit, and he understood that only a great Savior could redeem him from his wretched, wicked ways. Newton found that redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible makes it clear that we are all in the same desperate straits as John Newton. Folks, without Jesus, the ship is sinking! There is no exception: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There is no one who is righteous by virtue of his or her own good deeds, no not one of us (Romans 3:10). And because of these immutable truths, we need something outside of us to change what is going on inside of us. We need a Savior to take away our sin!
So . . . are John Newton’s two things to remember etched upon your heart? If you’re unsure, your answer can be found in understanding what your heart beats for. Does it beat for yourself or your Savior? Does it beat to expand the cause of your kingdom or the Kingdom of God? When we remember what great sinners we really are . . . AND how great a Savior Jesus Christ is, we have all the motivation we need to live for nothing other than Jesus.
Let me close out this meditation with those wonderful words from Newton’s great hymn:
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.
As the Bible says, “By the grace of God is am what I am …”
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”