A few years before John Newton died, a friend was having a breakfast with him. Their custom was to read from the Bible. Because Newton’s eyes were growing dim, his friend would read, then Newton would comment briefly on the message.
That day the selection was from 1 Corinthians 15. When the words “by the grace of God I am what I am” were read, Newton was silent for several minutes. Then he said, “I am not what I ought to be. How imperfect and deficient I am! I am not what I wish to be, although I abhor that which is evil and would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be, but soon I shall put off immortality, and with it all sin …. Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was: a slave to sin and Satan. I can heartily join with the apostle and acknowledge that by the grace of God I am what I am!”
Newton’s words apply to every Christian. Because of God’s goodness, we are spared much bad that we deserve and are given much good that we do not deserve. Every good thing comes from His hand.
Does humble gratitude to God characterize your life? Do you acknowledge with Paul and John Newton, “By the grace of God I am what I am”? – Paul R. Van Gorder
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home. – Newton
Grace means everything to those who deserve nothing.
- February 15, 1992, Our Daily Bread