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“Back in the eighteenth century, a young boy was born into a Christian home. For the first six years of his life, he heard the truths of the gospel and he was loved. Sadly, though, his parents died. The orphaned boy went to live with his relatives. There he was mistreated and abused and ridiculed for his faith in Christ. The boy couldn’t tolerate that situation, and he fled and joined the Royal Navy. In the navy, the boy’s life went downhill. He became known as a brawler, was whipped many times, and participated in some of his comrades’ being keel-hauled. Finally, while he was still young, he deserted the Royal Navy and fled to Africa, where he attached himself to a Portuguese slave trader. There, his life reached its lowest point. There were times when he actually ate off the floor on his hands and knees. He escaped and then became attached to another slave trader as the first mate on his ship. But the young man’s pattern of life had become so depraved, he couldn’t stay out of trouble. As the story goes, he stole the ship’s whiskey and got so drunk that he fell overboard. He was close to drowning when one of his shipmates harpooned him and brought him back on board. As a result, the young man had a huge scar in his side for the rest of his life. After that escapade, he couldn’t get much lower. In the midst of a great storm off the coast of Scotland, when days and days were filled with pumping water out of the boat, the young man began to reflect on the Scripture verses he had heard as a child. He was marvelously converted. The new life John Newton found is reflected in his own heartfelt words, familiar to millions now:


Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost but now am found,

Was blind but now I see.”


Newton’s experience put into words: the ultimate point of Romans 3:21-31.


-Greg Herrick Th.M., Ph.D. www.bible.org

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