This morning we will sing that famous old line: ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!’ I wonder if, were we to pause and linger on those words, we might gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of just how amazing God’s grace is. The song, of course, has a well-known history: it was written by John Newton, a former slave trader in the 18th century who came to know God’s grace and forgiveness in a powerful way. His story tells us that God forgives that in us that we would find unforgivable in others: a challenging truth but also a beautiful one.

God is love, as we read in 1 John 4:8. And God’s love is expressed to us through forgiveness of our sins. When we are unholy, He makes us holy; when we are unworthy, He makes us worthy; when we forget Him, He remembers us; when we run away from Him, He brings us back. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), but His grace is enough to overcome our failures. That is what we mean when we sing of amazing grace!

James