‘Grace’ is a cornerstone of the Christian faith but is seldom thought about as seriously as it should be, even among believers. It can be defined as ‘unmerited favor’, ‘elimination of punishment for sin’, or ‘favor of God towards man’ and it is unique to the true Christian faith. No where in all of the established religions of the world can it be found as pure and as practiced as in the teachings of Christ. The principal of grace is so powerful that it has influenced the establishment of the laws of our land and is one of the main reason for America’s greatness. It can be seen specifically in the forgiving of debt (elimination of debtors prison).

But the grace and forgiveness of God also is most apparent in the changing of the lives of individuals. John Newton was a ship captain and slave trader in the eighteenth century and considered a most ruthless man. But when God enlightened him about the grace He provides, it changed his life. He became ‘a new creature’ and the course of his life changed 180 degrees. As a minister and hymn composer he went on to influenced thousands during his life and even yet today as he testified to that grace of God in these words of the hymn he wrote.

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.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fear relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Oh! If we today could just get a glimpse of the wonder and power of God’s grace, it would instill fire and purpose in our lives and would supersede all else we hold dear in this life. But as with all good things that come to man, there is added responsibility. If one who sees, understands and embraces the grace of God were to neglect or disobey His imperatives, he stands in danger of removing himself from under that grace and that is a fearful thing. May we all who claim the grace of God renew our vision of that gift and, as John Newton wrote in his hymn, allow that grace to impart to us a healthy fear of of the Lord, a fear that would propel us into a deeper walk with Him.