“I sinned with a high hand,” he said.
Though nurtured by a Christian mother during his early years, John Newton followed in his father’s image after his mother died of tuberculosis. He lost his first job with the merchant navy because of “unsettled behavior and impatience of restraint.” After deserting the Royal Navy, he was captured, placed in irons, and flogged.
Following his release, he took up employment with a slave-trader named Clow but was eventually transferred to the service of a Liverpool ship. During the ship’s homeward journey, Newton experienced God’s grace while in the midst of an enormous storm. He wasn’t beyond God’s grace after all, and he celebrated by penning the well-known song, “Amazing Grace.”
Despised by almost everyone because of his profession, Matthew may have thought he was beyond God’s grace as well, but he wasn’t. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him (Matthew 9:9 NLT).
I’ve known a few folks and read or heard about many more that seemed to be beyond God’s grace. You know . . . the cruel type who cared about no one but themselves . . . who stole, murdered, abused, cursed, and imbibed in every addiction imaginable. The type I didn’t want to associate with.
But I finally understood that though my life never devolved to some of their degrees, I didn’t deserve God’s grace any more than they did. No one does. God gives it because of his love, and by its very nature, grace is undeserved. If I could earn it or deserve it, it wouldn’t be grace.
God’s grace is experienced by asking for forgiveness of our sins and then by simply enjoying his presence every day. You are never beyond his love and grace.
Prayer: Thank You Father God that Your grace extends to all who desire it.