Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

John Newton was a British sailor and slave trader in the eighteenth century. His mother was a devout Christian and she died when he was only six years old, leaving him to be raised by his father who was a ship captain. Newton was rebellious and denied God for many years of his life, but eventually accepted Jesus as his Savior during his time at sea. He later went on to leave the slave trade, become a preacher and write hymns. He also helped put an end to the slave trade.

He came to put his trust in the Lord after a stormy night at sea when he wasn’t sure if he was going to live to see the next day. After that shaky night his life began to gradually change, but he continued to sail ships involved in the slave trade and even took the position of ship captain for a while.

Just before he was about to embark on his fourth voyage as captain, he suddenly came down with an illness and was advised not to set sail—so he did not. And the captain who replaced him, was later murdered during an uproar that occurred on the ship.

After Newton said good-bye to his life at sea, he started to pursue his faith even more. He eventually became an ordained minister and wrote hymns such as the well known hymn, Amazing Grace—a highly inspirational song to many.  He also partnered with William Wilberforce and they became key players in abolishing the slave trade. In 1807 the slave trade was outlawed in Britain, and just months later Newton left this earth to go home.


Amazing Grace is my favorite song of all time—and it took on a whole new meaning for me several years ago when I learned about the history behind the song. It was written by someone who rejected God and promoted the ugliness of slavery for many years, but then came to realize that he had a Savior who came to set him free and forgive him for each and every sin. He became a new man and made it his mission to share the Gospel with the world. He also fought hard to put an end to the very thing that kept him in bondage to shame and guilt for many years of his life—the slave trade. God created good from his mess.

Newton was a man who was touched by grace, and it changed his life. And while our stories probably look much different than his, we too have the opportunity to experience the life changing power of God’s grace. We are full of sin, yet while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The story of the Cross is grace. Jesus, the perfect spotless Lamb, took our place on that cross. He died to know us. He wants an eternal relationship with us. He loves us with every thread in His being. We don’t deserve Him and we don’t deserve what He did for us—but He willingly endured the pain so that we can have the gift of Amazing Grace.

No matter who you are, or what your past involves…God’s grace is an invitation to all. He loves you, He wants you and He’s waiting for you to come running into His arms.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

~Ephesians 2:4-9 [NLT]


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.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
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.
-Original lyrics, John Newton, 1772



(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood

*Above photo adapted from here

* Historical information for this post was gathered from Wikipedia and several Christian online sources.


2 thoughts on “Amazing Grace

  1. The stories behind the hymns are so deep…they do become all the more meaningful when we know them. Grateful for His amazing grace!!

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