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Thursday, November 9, 2017

God's Amazing Grace

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.

One of the most beloved and often sung hymns is Amazing Grace. Written in 1779 by John Newton, this hymn is Newton's testimony of how his life was changed and how, through God's grace, he was saved from a life of sin. At the age of eleven, Newton had gone off to sea with his father and his life spiraled out of control. He was punished for attempting to desert from the Royal Navy, was held captive by a slave trader, and became the captain of a slave ship himself. But God had a better plan for Newton. Following his conversion, Newton went into ministry and eventually wrote 280 hymns including Amazing Grace. At the end of his life, Newton said, "There are two things I'll never forget: that I was a great sinner, and that Jesus is a greater Savior!"

Grace is the act of a more powerful person extending gracious or merciful behavior toward another. It is one of God's greatest attributes. Since the beginning of time, God has continually extended His grace to mankind. When the evil of men caused God's anger to burn and made Him regret that He had created man, God decided to destroy what He had created (Genesis 6:5-7). But, through God's grace, one man, Noah, had found favor with God (Genesis 6:8). God's grace made a way for Noah and his family to escape the flood and repopulate the earth (Genesis 9:1).

When God had freed the Israelites from captivity in Egypt, despite all that He had done for them, the Israelites complained, grumbled, and even began to worship idols. But, through His amazing grace, God still brought them to the Promised Land. When David, who had been a man after God's own heart, sinned against God by having an affair with Bathsheba and then causing the death of her husband, God was merciful and continued to allow David to reign. David understood God's grace. In Psalm 41:3, he asked God to be gracious to him, despite the fact that he had sinned against God.

Perhaps the greatest picture of God's amazing grace is the cross of Calvary. Despite the fact that we are all sinners and that the penalty for our sins is death, God showed His love and grace by allowing His Son, Jesus, to be nailed to that cross, dying to pay the penalty for our sins. The grace shown at the cross was a grace that is greater than all of our sins. Because of God's grace, not only are our sins pardoned, but we are given eternal life. And all we need to do is believe in Jesus, believe that He died for us, accept Him as Savior and turn from our sins. Now that is grace that is truly amazing!

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