The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
By: John Newton, 1725-1807
Listen before you read this one. This version features Wintley Phipps.
I hope you listened to that informative and inspiring rendition of Amazing Grace. If not, I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and do that. I will even try to tighten up my verbiage a bit for this one.
I really want to pick up where we left off from the last Tuesday Tuning from 8.22.17 about calling and draw an interesting distinction between the unchanging nature of the calling of God and the implications of change it has on evening else. What I mean is simply this. Though even earth and sun made fade away, God’s call on us will not. In the face of the constancy of the call, we are confronted with our need to be transformed in order to truly answer. Our illustrative subject for today is our author, John Newton.
He was an interesting character who, like Wilberforce, came to faith later in life. Unlike Wilberforce, Newton was a sordid individual who was considered extremely profane, which is remarkable especially because he was a sailor. After leaving the Royal Navy, he continued sailing and eventually became a captain on a slave ship.
But that was not the most significant change in his life. He never forgot calling our for mercy in the midst of a perilous situation at sea, and eventually surrendered to the call of Christ, first becoming a Christian and then after some time an Anglican priest and abolitionist. The slave trader became an advocate for freedom, in more ways than one. That transformation helps to add weight to not only the quote above but also this one.
The More Things Change…
I have often said the Christian life is a life of change. Newton nailed it with his litany of what he is not. The same could be said of the standing and experience of all who have responded to the call of Grace, and yielded themselves to His transforming power.
Most of us are not naturally very fond of change, unless we are in charge of it, and the changes Christ requires of us are no exception to the general rule. The interesting dichotomy I see here is that it is the Unchanging God who issues an irrevocable call which initiates and demands transformation. Everything in creation will change, but not Him, or His call on us.
The More They Stay the Same
So we take great confidence from this. God who called us to be His in this age, will ours throughout them all. He does not change, and neither does His grace.
Think about it. If God could turn this slave trader into the man who would write these words sung by millions in praise of God’s grace each year, what does He have in store for you. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to you the truth that although many things around you may change-profession, finances, future-God’s grace for you will not. Let the peace that flows from this truth transform the way you think, what you say, and how you act. Then you will be able to say with Newton that although you are not yet what you want to be, you are not either what you used to be, all by His grace.
Jesus, thank You for You unchanging call, and the way it is changing me. Cause me to long for it now so that realization will be even sweeter. Help me love You with all my mind as I wait! In Jesus name. Amen.
Finding some help here tuning? Subscribe to get updates of new tools to help you be Resonant.