It was John Newton who wrote the classic hymn ‘Amazing Grace’. He was blown away by the idea that God should forgive someone like him, he felt totally beyond redemption but came to understand such was Jesus’ love for him that he was willing to die even for John Newton. So he penned the classic lines; ‘Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me’. To know grace when you’ve made a real mess of things is indeed a sweet sound.
I also like the band U2’s take on grace, it captures the incredible power of grace:
Grace, she takes the blame
She covers the shame….
Removes the stain
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark no longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
Grace finds beauty in everything
Grace finds goodness in everything
To be the recipient of grace is an incredible blessing, and to know the very grace of God is something even more significant.
Such is the grace of God that he not only forgives our stupidity and failings, but ‘graciously’ continues a work in us to enable us to become the people who display the glorious potential he put in each one of us.
What a tragedy it would be if we didn’t take hold of this Amazing Grace. Of course we can’t experience such a transformation if we ignore God and his wisdom and direction for our life. That’s the irony of a relationship with our maker, we give up ourselves to his guidance and direction we find our life, purpose and meaning, but if we seek to keep control and determine we know better than God, we ultimately lose our life in the selfishness that owns us.
Just as God is gracious to us, he calls us to graciously give ourselves to him. And at that point grace does indeed make beauty out of ugly things, Bono was right, but then he was only quoting Jesus; “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:25)