Are you saved by Grace?

“Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound….”
By Pastor Daniel E. Benton
In 1779 John Newton (1725-1807) put pen to paper and wrote the Hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Today, over 200 years later, that autobiographical poem has become the best known, most loved, hymn of all time. Even people who have never entered a church are familiar with the tune “Amazing Grace.”
Let’s take a moment to consider the Grace that John Newton wrote about.
John Newton was saved by Grace. He wrote: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me….” The Grace that saved John Newton was God’s Grace, that is – God’s unmerited and unearned favor. The following acrostic describes God’s Grace very simply. Grace is:
G – God’s
R – Riches
A – At
C – Christ’s
E – Expense

In Ephesians 2:8-9, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul also speaks about this ‘Amazing Grace’:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The Grace that saved John Newton was God’s Grace. As such it was also Free Grace, “the gift of God.” Grace is God’s gift, not God’s reward. Millions of well-intentioned people follow works-based religious systems. They hope that in the end their good works will outweigh the bad things they do. Ultimately, they trust in man-made rules, or participation in religious activities to ‘tip the scales in their favor’ and impart ‘Sacramental Grace.’ But Sacramental Grace’ and God’s Free Grace are not the same thing. Salvation is “Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
The Grace that saved John Newton was Free Grace, but it was not ‘cheap grace.’ What is given freely to us has cost God dearly. He paid the highest price — the death of His own Son, Jesus Christ upon the cross — to provide us with “so great salvation” (Hebrews 2:3). God understood that we sinners need Salvation. He also understood that because we are sinners we are totally unable to save ourselves. That is why God – did for – us what we could never do. That is why God’s Grace is “Amazing Grace”.
The Grace that saved John Newton was also ‘personal Grace.’ In “Amazing Grace” he wrote sincerely, from his heart about what God had done to him, and for him. Newton declared: “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” Before his salvation John Newton was, in his own words, “an infidel and libertine….” He cared for no one but himself. He actively participated in the British slave trade, and was hated by everyone, even other crew members aboard the slave ship. At one point John Newton fell overboard. In order to ‘rescue’ him the Captain harpooned Newton, and dragged him back aboard the ship. For the rest of his life John Newton carried the physical scars of his former life.
It would be easy to ‘condemn’ the unsaved John Newton, particularly when we look back on him from the perspective of our ‘politically correct’ 21st century. No one today believes that slavery is acceptable. But the truth of the matter is that we are all sinners, just like John Newton. The details regarding your sin and mine differ from his, but the effect is the same – “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). Friend, are you saved? Are you relying on God’s Free Grace alone, or are you still clinging to the empty promises of a works-based religion? Turn to God today and accept His free gift of Salvation. Then John Newton’s testimony of “Amazing Grace” will be yours too!