Sun, 16 April 2017
Amazing Grace is perhaps the best loved hymn of all time. Here are the words to the first verse: “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.” The author of the hymn was, by his own admission, a “wretch.” He was a slave trader, a blasphemer, a rebel, an immoral man, and a torturer.
As a boy, John was captivated by the adventure and risk of life on the high seas. When he was eleven, young John Newton launched into that exciting life of voyaging, sailing, and living his dream. But the dream turned out to be a nightmare.
Later in life he wrote, “I sinned with a high hand, and I made it my study to tempt and seduce others.” Newton lived a hard life with hard consequences. God got his attention though. In 1748, Newton’s slave ship was nearly wrecked by an intense storm. Surrounded by crashing waves, ferocious winds, creaking timbers, and the cries of onboard slaves, John fell to his knees and pled for mercy, and for grace.
God’s grace, which reaches anyone, anywhere, saved a wretch like John Newton. Newton wrote the song years later while serving as a pastor in Olney, England. Today, its lyrics still inspire, encourage, and instruct people about the radical reality of God’s amazing grace. It gives “wretches” like us hope.
The summation of Newton’s testimony is this: “was blind, but now I see.” What was true spiritually of Newton was literally true for a man that we will meet in the Scriptures this morning. He was blind from birth. But by God’s grace he was given physical and, more importantly, spiritual sight and life! God wants to do the same for us.
Signs: So You May Believe
“Was Blind but Now I See”