John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace,” went through a long and difficult path before he penned the song. Raised by a Christian mother, he eventually denied Christ, became a slave trader, met the Lord during a storm at sea, and then went on to become a pastor, abolitionist, and writer of some of the most recognizable lyrics ever written. We all have a past. We’ve all fallen short of God’s standard. It’s one thing to know that. It’s another thing entirely to acknowledge and embrace the forgiveness and new life that Jesus freely offers.
- What does it take for someone to embrace the forgiveness of God or others?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 9:35-41 (ESV)
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What did Jesus ask the man?
- What did Jesus come into the world to judge?
- The Pharisees were the most religious people of their day. What was their reaction to Jesus’ statement?
- What did the man have that the Pharisees lacked?
- Do you tend to respond more like the man or the Pharisees?
RESPOND TO GOD
Humility. It’s a quality we value in others but often struggle to find in ourselves. Our sinful nature cries out for autonomy, telling us that we know what’s best, we know we’re right, and we can do it on our own. But Jesus calls us to leave all of that at the foot of the cross. He invites us to allow him to live his life through us and leave our old ways behind. Near the end of John Newton’s life, he told a visitor, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” These are the words of a man who had embraced the reality that God’s grace is better than his best plans.
- Take a moment and ask Jesus to help you to live in humility.