I recently began another Bible study written by “The Time-Warp Wife!" If you have no clue who I am talking about, AFTER you finish reading this post, go to the archives and read my post entitled, "Daily Time With The Lord", which will explain everything!
In the introduction of the Bible study, she wrote a quote by R.C. Sproul which depicts grace to a “T”!
“God just doesn’t throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, and pulls a corpse from the bottom of the sea, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive.”
That right there is an excellent word picture of grace.
Before someone has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they are drowning and in need of rescuing. When they call upon Christ, Who is "The Rescuer", God reaches down, pulls them up out of the tempestuous water of sin which they are sinking in, breathes new life into them and makes them alive in ways they never knew before!
Some definitions of grace from Webster's Bible dictionary:
"The free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him."
"The application of Christ's righteousness to the sinner."
"A state of reconciliation to God."
And, oh my, the Scripture verses which mention grace:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
II Corinthians 12:9
"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
II Timothy 1:2
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."
And so many more!
Without grace it is impossible to know God.
Why, you may ask?
Well, if you go back and read some of the verses, you'll see that without grace you cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). And the ONLY way you can know the Father is by knowing Jesus!
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
That is the grace of God for salvation.
But there is also the grace of God for our lives after salvation.
We NEED the grace of God for every moment of every day if we desire to live our lives for the honor and glory of the Lord.
God's grace allows us to love others the way He loves others.
God's grace enables us to forgive others the way He forgives others.
God's grace equips us to show compassion to others the way He shows compassion to others.
God's grace sustains us with encouragement when all hope is gone.
God's grace lavishes joy upon us when the laughter has turned to tears.
God's grace dispenses peace when all around us is turmoil.
God's grace bestows strength when weakness is pressing down hard upon us.
God's grace grants victory when all we can see is defeat.
As I was reading about grace during my Bible study and writing out this post, the very familiar hymn, "Amazing Grace", came to my mind.
I already knew quite a bit about the hymn's composer, but decided I would do some more research, and I can honestly say that the song's title is definitely a testament to the grace of God in John Newton's life!
It didn't surprise me one bit to read John Newton had a godly mother who loved him, prayed for him, taught him Scripture and nurtured him in the things of the Lord. Her deepest desire was that one day her only child would become a preacher.
Even though she died when John was only seven years old, her influence upon him continued throughout his entire lifetime and her prayers continued to be answered by the Lord even after she went Home to be with her Saviour!
At the young age of eleven, John Newton's father sent him out to sea, first as a cabin boy and then as a deckhand. Needless to say, he was exposed to a very wicked lifestyle which had a profound effect on him.
He would take his peers on reckless and dangerous escapades. He had a total and complete contempt for authority. While he was still in his teens, John Newton, was enslaved on an African plantation and nearly died. But instead of waking him up to his devastating lifestyle, it only caused him to become even more rebellious.
Newton eventually became a captain of his own slave ship, and his heart continued to harden. He didn't care about anyone except himself and only sought after his own good pleasure.
Later in his life, he wrote about this time and said, "I not only sinned with a high hand myself, but made it my study to tempt and seduce others upon every occasion."
BUT GOD ... don't you just LOVE those two words!!
But God interceded with His amazing grace!
One night at sea, there arose a ferocious storm and John Newton came face-to-face with death.
The following is a quote from one of the articles which I read on the life of John Newton, "Tied to the ship to prevent being washed away, Newton pumped and bailed all night. All the while he reviewed his life: the Bible verses and hymns his mother had taught him, her prayers on his behalf, former professions of religion, the warnings and deliverances he had met with, his licentious conversation, and his mockery of the Gospels. At first Newton was convinced he had sinned too much to have any hope for God's forgiveness. Yet when the storm did not recede and he felt he would soon meet his God, he at last clung to Scriptures that taught God's grace towards sinners, and he breathed his first weak prayer in years. As he was later to recall it, this was the hour he first believed."
Several years later, at the age of thirty-nine, John Newton, was ordained in the Church of England and served at a church in Olney.
His mother's prayers for her one and only child to become a preacher had been answered!
John Newton wrote the words to, "Amazing Grace", for a church service on New Year's Day, 1773, which accompanied a sermon from I Chronicles 17.
John Newton lived into his eighties, faithfully teaching, preaching and writing, every day living in the amazing grace of God!
I'm thankful John Newton found the amazing grace of God.
I'm thankful I found the amazing grace of God.
If you have not yet found the AMAZING grace of God or if you have questions understanding God's grace, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like me, as you listen to this well-known hymn, you may have a tendency to sing right over top the words.
This time, please slow down and REALLY soak in the words.
By doing so, you may just be reminded anew of the AMAZING grace of God!
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May God Bless You,