For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Jer. 31:34)

MANY PEOPLE MIGHT NOT realize that John Newton, the composer of “Amazing Grace,” was a former slave trader.

At the age of eleven, Newton went to sea with his father, who was a captain. After his father retired, John began working on a slave ship, became the servant of slave traders, and was brutally abused. Later he was rescued and became captain of his own ship.

During a violent storm when all hope seemed to be lost, John cried out, “Lord, have mercy upon us!” He and his crew were saved. John realized God had spoken to him and His saving grace was working in his life.

Eventually John became a minister and, for the remainder of his life, was used of God in many ways. God’s amazing grace led to John’s salvation and also to the salvation of countless others.

Sometimes we speak of grace rather lightly, perhaps not fully realizing the enormity of the gift God has given. Often grace is described as “unmerited favor from God.” One dictionary describes grace as “the love and favor of God toward men.”

John Newton knew what a miraculous change God had made in his life through His amazing grace, and John not only wrote about it; he lived it.

Live so that God’s amazing grace will be reflected in your life.

Norma C. Mezoe lives in Sandborn, Indiana, where she is active in her church. She began writing after a crisis and has been a published writer for thirty years.