If this isn’t one of your favourite hymns then it will be in your top five or ten, if you have one. It will also be in your Mum or Dads list for sure and at least most people who go to your church, if not all of them then let’s say most of them.
The reason is simple, all of them know what Grace is and have experienced what grace is by the very nature that they are Christians. When you separate what you personally have done to merit Gods mercy which regardless of who you are or whatever good works you have done, organised, donated, walked in righteousness without sinning, it comes to a sum total when you calculate everything of nothing! Not one ounce of anything makes the slightest difference to God choosing whether to bestow His grace, His mercy on me or you or them or us.
The hymn was written by a former slave trader. John Newton, captain of a slave ship, whom after he found favour with the Lord renounced his former ways and went on to being instrumental in the abolition of slavery in Great Britain. He was obviously rather instrumental in the musical way if you will pardon the pun, in penning this great classic hymn loved by all. I seem to remember him also writing a multitude of other hymns, the most part being set to a metronomical rhythm setting that the psalms are often sung along to, though I’m not completely sure.
The primary reason that this hymn has sprung to mind today is because of one of the lines in the hymn, “ I once was lost but now I’m found.“
This morning I awoke as I often do, by the grace of God, with a continuation of thought from the previous day/night. With the same, not exactly the same but similar confusion in relation to where I am now, not positional, but in the reading through and studying of the Bible.
I sleep soundly every night, there is absolutely no disturbance whatsoever, its wonderful, no noise bar the natural noises the wind maybe or the occasional ‘Hoot‘ from the local owl. No cars, alarms, sirens, traffic, not anything save the dreaming noise of my faithful canine friend Bertie.
Once the sun goes down, around 6 pm, there is no distraction at all from light at all. There is no man made light visible, quite the opposite. Its wonderful too, to only see what is natural without the impairment of refractory light, so on a clear night, which most are, the amount of wondrous stars to beheld is quite breathtaking. Especially if you have been reading the Old Testament with Gods promise to Abraham to make his descendants number the stars!
My sleep a couple of years ago when I was first saved and for some time after was mostly dreams about me witnessing to people whom I had met throughout my life. Telling them about the gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ and what they must do to be saved. It was extraordinary waking up during really vivid dreams, panicking as I didn’t know whether they had heard enough?
These last few nights and early mornings are of a similar ilk, but this time with the nuts and bolts of the Old Testament. Waking in the morning halfway through a deep and meaningful discussion with nobody in particular about Abraham’s or Moses’s journey, or specific covenant with God or similar.
What a wonderful place to be!
This afternoon after another session of study, I take Bertie for a walk around the block, except there is no block, but we go anyway. For a change we pull off the roadway and head down an unfamiliar path, it doesn’t take too long for the path to become non existent and we are sort of surrounded by thick ferns, ivy covered trees and overgrown thickets and shrubbery.
As I was contemplating this predicament, I hear the Holy Spirit gently tell me that what I see before me is like what it was like before Gods grace. That I was lost and didn’t know which way to turn. For I was blind and tell me that the confusion that I have in the studies is also like what I see before me, but let the Holy Spirit guide me now, and it is the Spirit that shall cut through the dense brambles and lead me home.
Isn’t God amazing! Isn’t Gods grace amazing!
Now that’s worth singing about!