Monday, September 12, 2011

Amazing Grace - First Verse

Amazing Grace was written by John Newton and published in 1799.  He was born in London July 24, 1725 into a sailing family.  He followed his father's profession and was pressed into service in the English Navy, where he was eventually assigned to a Slave ship.  From there he became a captain of a slave ship and that is how our story begins, according to Amazing Grace, the Story of John Newton.


The moment that the Amazing Grace first occurred in his life was at the height of a storm at sea, where a seaman who was steering the ship had already been washed overboard and lost. Again, according to  Amazing Grace, the Story of John Newton.  "He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him."


At a moment of extreme danger, and extremely disagreeable, disgusting, ungodly, non-repentant, non-believer addressed God, and God reaches out and touches his soul.  Amazing.


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.

Amazing Grace refers to that fact that John Newton saw himself as a great sinner, one beyond the rational levels that could allow anyone to think of redemption. Acts 15:11 (AMP) "But we believe that we are saved through the grace (the undeserved favor and mercy) of the Lord Jesus, just as they [are]. 



What was amazing about the grace was that at long last, John Newton was broken.  He discovered how evil his life had been, and how real God was, and it sickened him.  He was Amazed that God would reach out to one such as he, and even more amazing, that he would wash his sins away, and offer him Heaven.  Amazing Indeed.


For me, the Grace extended by Jesus was "logical."  By that, I mean I was not surprised when it dawned on me.  The person in my life who was teaching me about the Lord only talked about the Love of Jesus.  He was passionate about what Jesus' love had done for him, and what it could do for me.  Once I accepted his testimony as legitimate, finding that same love witnessed in the Bible was easy.  No Bells.  No strange moment of 'I got it."  Just a feeling of duh.  


I really did not get the amazing grace part until the last few weeks, when I finally reached out an made my relationship with Jesus something more than it has been.  I was broken in the world, and that caused me to look inside.  I saw nothing, and had nothing to lose, so I asked the Holy Spirit to show me my sins.  POW.  Now I get it to the roots of my toes.  My sin, like John Newton's is huge and ongoing.  That makes Jesus' grace all the more amazing.  We have an Awesome God!


That Saved a Wretch Like Me.  Just in case you missed the meaning of Grace, undeserved favor or mercy, he repeats the sin ...  he was a Wretch in the eyes of man and the Lord, and he knew it.  That is called confession.


Credit: Free images from acobox.com

I once was lost but now am found
. He was not a believer of any type, according the "The Creation of Amazing Grace," yet God found him, like the lost sheep in Luke 15:6-7 (AMP) "And when he gets home, he summons together [his] friends and [his] neighbors, saying to them, Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep which was lost. Thus, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind, abhorring his errors and misdeeds, and determines to enter upon a better course of life) than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance."  He did not believe, and he acted according to his own compass as to what was right and wrong, but Jesus found him and carried him home anyway.



I was once told that the outstanding quality of sheep was that they were stupid and dirty.  That offended me.  Now I wish I was only the stupid and only that dirty.  What a great way to look at ourselves.  We roll around in the dirt of the world thinking that is what we were born for, and along comes Jesus, tells us the truth, offers us love anyway, and some of us actually say NO THANK YOU.  I did for over 30 years.  If you want to read my story, visit Diving in to the Unknown. If you want to dive in yourself, and experience this amazing grace for yourself, then click here.


Was blind, but now I see. John 5-37 (AMP) "And the Father Who sent Me has Himself testified concerning Me. Not one of you has ever given ear to His voice or seen His form (His face--what He is like). [You have always been deaf to His voice and blind to the vision of Him.]"  He went from not knowing there was a  God, to seeing him everywhere in his life, in a blink of an eye.  

This was not a conversion experience that left him wondering.  It was a face to face meeting with his own evilness.  And God washed his sin, opened his eyes, and welcomed him home.


I did wonder after I accepted Christ.  I did not ever wonder about my salvation, I just wondered what I was supposed to do next, and how to get closer to Jesus.  I frequently forgot even that when things were going well.  




Recently I have read a few good books that have gotten me back into the Word, and back into the arms of Jesus.  


If you would like to read our review of them, see: Book Review - Good News for those Trying Harder, and Book Review, the Barbarian Way.

Amazing.

Grace.

How sweet it is.

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