Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Hymn Stories - Amazing Grace

On Wednesday nights at our church, I lead a Bible study discussion. For the next 10 or 12 weeks we'll be looking at "Hymn Stories" - we'll talk about the lyrics, the Scripture the hymn is based on, and the circumstances of its origin.

Last week, we started with an easy one - Amazing Grace by John Newton. It was very well received and so I think we're going to have a wonderful series. You can join us on FB here each Wed at 6:30 PM (CST).

Regarding AG, you can search engine the story behind this great hymn, but the basic background is that Newton was a slave ship captain and when he got into a terrible storm, thinking he wouldn't make it, he cried out to God for mercy.

When he made it through the storm alive, Newton gave his life back to the Lord and eventually gave up slaving and started advocating for the abolition of this evil practice. 

Newton was a forceful writer and speaker and influenced William Wilberforce, another Christian, who finally convinced the English Parliment to give up the practice. They passed the resolution a few weeks after Newton had died.

(Definitely watch the movie, Amazing Grace, 2006, starring Ioan Gruffudd as Wilberforce. Excellent!)

The hymn, Amazing Grace, is a testimony to God's saving power, then, of a man who was a wretched sinner (as are we all) but who was bestowed salvation. Just...wow. 

I remember going to a funeral once, and the pastor had us sing AG but changed the lyric from "wretch like me" to "one like me." Because, he said, we are not wretches - God loves us!

Pfffft! Without Christ, we are wretched! We're lost and no better off than a slaver. In fact, in our hearts at this very moment, we would readily enslave anyone who doesn't think like us, act like us, look like us, believe like us. That's the nature of sin.

But praise God, Christ has freed us from this wretched state. I'm still a sinner, but now I'm also forgiven and am a new creation. Thank you, Lord. 

Such is the nature of great hymns. They convey powerful theological truths and transforming Biblical teaching. Really looking forward to this series!

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1 comment:

Keep it clean and positive. (And sorry about the word verification, but the spmb*ts are out in full force!)