In his hymn “Amazing Grace” John Newton captured this very idea of the continuing work of grace in our lives from salvation to glorification when he wrote:
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.
T’was grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed?
The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secure;
He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
Thru many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home
When we’ve been ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less day to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.
This hymn is biographical in nature. Before he got saved, ‘he was arrogant, rebellious, and living a reckless sinful life.’ He earned his living as a ‘slave trader.’ After gaining more spiritual insights and growth in Christ, Newton passionately supported William Wilberforce in his campaign to abolish slavery in the colonies. From the day of his conversion until the day the he was promoted to glory, Newton never stopped marvelling at the amazing grace of God that had dramatically changed his life. He said: “I am not the man I ought to be, I am not the man I wish to be, and I am not the man I hope to be, but by the grace of God I am not the man I used to be.” He pastored churches in England and when his eyesight faltered and his body grew frail he said to a friend, “my memory is nearly gone, but I can still remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.”
Newton’s ‘Amazing Grace’ is basically the story of his life and for nearly 250 years, this hymn is sung around the world by Christians and non-believers. It is my prayer that many will come to know Christ as Saviour and experience the power and ‘amazing grace’ of God. All by grace and by grace alone through faith alone.