“That He (God) might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
John Newton the famous composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace” was once the captain of a slave ship carrying Africans as slaves to England in the eighteenth century. On March 10, 1748, his ship was caught in a terrible storm, and when nothing could be done, he was led to read ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas Kempis.
The Holy Spirit began working in his heart and he accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. Realizing the depravation of the slave trade, he left the ship. The Lord guided him to do His work and encouraged by the eminent evangelist George Whitefield, he plunged into the ministry and became the pastor of a church near Cambridge.
In 1785, when he was the distinguished Pastor of St. Mary Woolnoth in London, he came into contact with William Wilberforce, a young brilliant politician of only 26 years, but already a member of the Parliament. Since he had recently experienced religious awakening, the born-again Wilberforce sought the 64 year old Rev, Newton for council. He wanted to know whether he should resign from Parliament and enter the ministry. Newton advised him not to resign but told him, “God can make you a blessing as a Christian and as a Statesman”.
Young Wilberforce took up the cause of slavery, which Rev. Newton preached against. He addressed the Privy Council which included Prime Minister William Pitt and said, “The slaves lie in two rows, one above the other, on each side of the ship like books upon the shelf. The poor creatures are in irons on both hands and feet. Every morning more instances than one are found of the living and the dead fastened together”. In March 1807, Parliament passed the Wilberforce Bill abolishing slavery. In December that year John Newton passed on to glory in his 82nd year with his last words, “l am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour”.
Amazing Grace, which brought people deliverance from human slavery in England is always abounding to bring deliverance from slavery under the devil and sin through the Saviour Jesus Christ.
Are you still a slave under sin? There is deliverance only in Christ Jesus.
“By Grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph, 2:8,10).
Taken from the book ‘Truths for the soul” by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj. Published by GLS Publishing.