...more than just a good bagpipe tune!
Mercy: Not getting what we do deserve.|
Grace: Getting what we don't deserve.
As a child, when I heard about God's Grace,
I used to wonder if God was a good dancer.
Later, I learned the word grace also
means "undeserved favor." The word "grace"
in the title of the song "Amazing Grace"
refers to the good things God does for mankind,
even though we don't deserve it.
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
The man who wrote the words to Amazing Grace,
John Newton, was born the son of a sea captain in 1725. His
mother died when he was six, and after only two years of school,
at age eleven, he went to sea on his father's ship. He
made such a mess of his life that his father eventually
rejected him. Unable to keep a job, he
spent time in jail, and was finally reduced to
working as a servant on a slave ship.
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
It was Thomas à Kempis's book Imitation of Christ that
opened John Newton's eyes to the way of God.
It took a storm at sea in which he nearly lost his life to
bring him to the point where he surrendered his life
to God, and began to live for Him. The next stanza tells
how God's grace made him aware
of his hopeless condition, and how God's grace
provided forgiveness of sins. By accepting Jesus, he was
no longer condemned to an eternity in hell.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
At age thirty-nine, John Newton became a minister,
but, as any minister can tell you, that's not the
end of life's temptations. It is also God's grace
that He will provide a way for us to escape from our
temptations. See 1 Cor 10:13
and grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
The fourth stanza may not have been written by Newton; it
is in some texts ascribed to John P. Rees, but it is safe
to say that John Newton would have agreed with them. It
tells of the eternity of life in heaven.
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
When we've been there ten thousand years,
John Newton is buried in a church graveyard in
Olney, England. His tombstone reads "John Newton, Clerk; once
an infidel and
libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the
faith he had long labored to destroy."
Bright shining as the sung
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.