Amazing grace, How sweet the sound / That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found, / Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, / And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear / The hour I first believed.
These lyrics are the opening words to John Newton’s famous hymn Amazing Grace. And they recall his miraculous conversion from a trader of slaves to a slave of Christ. And if you have tasted the grace of Christ in your life and experienced the forgiveness of sins, the regenerating work of the Spirit, and the undeserved love of the Father, then his lyrics are precious beyond words. For in Newton’s hymn, we find a testimony of grace that recalls our salvation as well.
Yet, Amazing Grace is not only a hymn of salvation, it is also a hymn of preservation. For it continues . . .
Through many dangers, toils and snare, / I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far / And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me / His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be, / As long as life endures.
Gloriously, the life that is granted to us in Christ is a life that has no end. And so from life in this fallen world, till life in the heavens above, to life in the New creation, Christians have the promise of God’s faithfulness to keep us to the endless end. As Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24,
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
On Sunday, I preached a message on the sustaining grace of God and the way God ministers to his saints in times of crisis. That is, when the our souls cling to the dust (Ps. 119:25) and melt away with sorrow (Ps. 119:28), God’s Word gives us life and strength to endure many dangers, toils, and snares. In that sermon, I outlined seven brushstrokes from Psalm 119:25–32 and four bedrocks from the same set of verses. Here are those eleven points.
- The soul is at stake. So take heart.
- The soul endangered by death will be brought low in the spirit. So don’t be surprised.
- The soul that clings to the dust will be raised when they cry out to God. So keep crying out to God.
- The soul crying out to God will get more of God. So cry out for God.
- The soul laid low needs to be saved. So cry out to God as your Savior.
- The soul that runs the race to the end is the one that runs by the Word. So cling to the Word.
- The soul that runs in God’s ways can only do so by God’s grace. So feed on his grace.
- God’s Word brings life and strength. So fill your heart, your home, your life with his Word.
- God’s Will is to hear the prayers of his children. So pray often and with unswerving faith.
- God’s Work is to do you good. So meditate on his wondrous works.
- God’s Way is the only way to life. So seek his ways like your life depends on it.
You can listen to the sermon here: A Grace That Endures: Eleven Words of Comfort in Times of Crisis. And for those suffering loss and clinging to the dust of death, you may find this meditation on Joshua comforting too. From Death to Life: How Joshua Gives Us Resurrection Hope in the Midst of Loss.
As we enter a new year, may we find fresh grace to continue to walk by faith, hold fast in hope, and labor in love. Indeed, even when we are at our weakest, God’s grace is sufficient. So let us press to know God and his sustaining grace. And may these resources be a help for you, especially if you are suffering loss.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com