While studying for my sermon two weeks ago on saving grace, I was struck by a quote from John Newton that will hopefully awaken us to the reality that we need grace to sustain us moment by moment. John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace,” talks about a remarkable change in his life prior to his conversion. He diagnoses that it was prior to his conversion because…
I was greatly deficient in many respects. I was in some degree affected with a sense of my enormous sins, but I was little aware of the innate evils of my heart. I had no apprehension of . . . the hidden life of a Christian, as it consists in communion with God by Jesus Christ: a continual dependence on him. . . . I acknowledged the Lord’s mercy in pardoning what was past, but depended chiefly upon my own resolution to do better for the time to come. . . . I cannot consider myself to have been a believer (in the full sense of the word) till a considerable time afterwards.”[emphasis mine; Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, p. 32-33]
If this is us, may we be indicted and repent. May we remember our need for grace from the beginning to the end of our lives.
And delight that at no moment in our lives are we ever able to live a godly life apart from God’s divine intervention.
There is no time when we are able to live as Christians without Christ.
Grace is always needed for us to endure to the end. Without grace, which grants holiness, no one will see the Lord.
So today don’t proceed without prayers for help. Don’t succeed without prayers of praise and thanksgiving. Don’t fail without prayers of hope that he is teaching you, growing you and promising to give you more grace in the future. Don’t seek to risk in love without pleading for God to empower, enable, and save through his gospel. I pray this fuels our church to continue to remember we are a community of grace where grace never quits and neither does our need for it.
Thankful with you that God is eager to pour out grace and give us the kingdom.