If you ask me what my favorite song is I would say Amazing Grace. It was not until I was 33 years old that I knew for the first time how amazing grace really was. I have always loved this song and can sing all the modern verses but I often sang it without any deep knowledge or meaning of the wonderful truths I was voicing. But when I was 33 an amazing thing happened that saved my life…
I accepted the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
I really did not know much about grace. But I knew once I believed that my eternal destination was heaven and my home was with God. And I knew then and know now that I did not do one single thing to deserve God’s blessings.
Grace! I had started on a journey that began an everyday cycle of grace upon grace!
AND FROM HIS FULNESS WE HAVE RECEIVED GRACE UPON GRACE John 1:16
Now, when I hear or sing Amazing Grace it brings me to grateful tears!
The song Amazing Grace was written by a slave trader John Newton.
Newton wrote of himself, “I sinned with a high hand and made it a study to seduce others”.
He had a long and notorious life in the slave trade but God kept calling him back to the Christian roots his mother instilled in him at an early age.
On one fateful voyage in 1747, a ship he was on headed to England hit a huge storm and it was during that storm that Newton converted. Although later he would admit, I could not consider myself a believer, in the full sense of the word”.
In 1755 Newton gave up his seafaring life and began to teach Bible Studies in his home in Liverpool. He also became more and more disgusted with the slave trade. In 1767 he became an Anglican minister. It was in his Olney parish in Buckinghamshire that he prolifically wrote hymns for a Thursday night prayer service.
In 1773 he combined 280 of his hymns with his friend and lay helpers and created the book, Olney Hymns. Sixty-eight hymns were included and Amazing Grace along with other recognizable hymns was part of this precious hymnal.
Newton went on to write a book called Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade which helped William Wilberforce’s work to abolish slavery in England.
Newton’s memories of his life as a slave trader never left him.
Even in his old age when he became feeble and was asked to retire, he said, “I cannot stop. What? Shall the old African trader stop while he can speak?”.
Listen to the words of Amazing Grace again and put these words into the sinner-slave-trader-turned-saint’s perspective.
Now, sing these words looking at your own life!
Grace for many people is a hard truth to swallow. For me, I run to it like it has open arms, for it does! The arms are the arms of God and the stretched out arms of my Lord on the cross!
The New Testament talks a lot about the concept of grace. We learn what grace is and how it is dispensed.
Grace is often described as unmerited favor.
Unmerited is doing nothing to deserve something and favor is like a kindness being done for a favorite child!
Grace is the ultimate act of kindness given by the only One who loves us without reserve! And for those who believe we live in a state of grace upon grace.
Just let that sink in. We, so undeserving are in a constant state of kindness being dumped on us over and over and over.
Non believers are also given grace. Grace, God’s unmerited blessings in their lives too, but they do not often recognize it. Maybe I don’t recognize it either!
Grace is the sunshine and every breath we take. Our homes and food and children. Our jobs and our very lives. These are all measures of Amazing Grace if we take care to see it!
Grace is finding favor with God. Grace is the opposite of “fair”.
It is benevolent and underserved and kind. It is love beyond measure when you and I are unlovable. It is blessings without bounds when you have nothing to give in return. It is AMAZING!
The best example of God’s grace is the Cross!
God sent His only Son to die on a cross. To take our sins upon Himself and suffer the consequences of sin and suffering and death in our place.
God offers every single person in the world a new relationship with Him if we should choose to accept this Grace.
We go from the family of Satan and sin into the family of God and GRACE! Unmerited, undeserved yet true. This so so big, so magnificent it is hard to wrap my mind around! It is love and mercy rolled into one! It is Amazing Grace!
So I bow to my God and my Savior and thank Him for “grace upon grace”. And the only response I can give is to offer my life and service to them. It is the only response that makes sense.
THEREFORE, I URGE YOU IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY, TO OFFER YOUR BODIES AS A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY AND PLEASING TO GOD- THIS IS YOUR TRUE AND PROPER WORSHIP. Romans 12:1
Just as Paul wrote in the book of Romans, because of God’s mercy the only response that is right is to be a living and holy sacrifice to please God. It is our way to thank Him! It is our way to worship Him!
So as we walk in priceless, costly grace upon grace today let’s thank and worship God will living moment by moment in this grace and living to please God as we worship Him with our lives!