When I Sing "Amazing Grace"
You are unlikely to see me get all the way through to the end singing "Amazing Grace" without watching tears come to my eyes. The words are so personal, and the older I get, the truer they ring.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines grace as "the spontaneous, unmerited gift of the divine favour in the salvation of sinners, and the divine influence operating in individuals for their regeneration and sanctification."
Wikipedia.org says, "Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings."
John Piper says that grace goes beyond the definition of unmerited favor to being a power for living. He continues: "grace is not only a disposition or a quality or an inclination in the nature of God, but is an influence or a force or a power or an acting of God that works in us to change our capacities for work and suffering and obedience."
All of these sources are correct, but here are some thoughts that go through my mind as I'm singing the verses.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, The opening notes that I have heard since early childhood and have become so familiar stir something in me. I know I'm about to be reminded, encouraged, uplifted. The sound and the concept are truly sweet.
That saved a wretch like me! I had not committed horrible crimes before I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I had been disobedient to my parents. I'd lied. I'd had unkind thoughts. I KNEW the concept of sin and that I had been guilty of sinning. That made me "a wretch."
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. At the age of 8 years old, I was just as lost as the most hardened criminal. I was in church all the time, but I couldn't ride my parents' coattails to salvation. I realized at that young age, that God came to "seek and to save" ME. The Holy Spirit convicted ME. No doubt about it. I made a conscious, deliberate decision to ask God to forgive me of my sins and to save me.
"Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! I remember so well the feeling of complete relief and release I had when I let go of the pew I was holding onto so tightly and went down the aisle. No one went with me. What I was going toward was greater than the fears I was leaving behind. It has been 64 years since "the hour I first believed," and I can still sense those same feelings.
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. The older I get, the longer the list of dangers, toils, and snares grows. God's grace has gotten me through them, and it will be His grace that gives me the strength to keep going.
The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Not only has the Lord PROMISED good to me, He has poured out His goodness to me in huge heaps over and over again. His Word tells me that good will continue to come and that the Ultimate Good will come when He returns. I believe it.
When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. Imagine it!!! All of God's children from every corner of the globe around His glorious throne in heaven praising, worshiping, basking in His presence, understanding everything we couldn't possibly understand while we were on earth. Ten thousand years will just be the beginning. The praising will have no end.
What wonderful reports we've heard recently from Asbury College, Samford University, Belmont University, and Lee University of revival breaking out among college students, of praise and worship times, prayer and confession going on for days without stopping. Young people getting saved, confessing their sins, and getting right with God. I believe they will understand the last verse of "Amazing Grace" a little better now.