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John Newton, a former slave trader, wrote the classic “Amazing Grace.” Before he repented, Newton was so wicked and hated, that his own crew despised him. Once out on the water, he fell overboard. The ship’s crew threw him barbed as a lifesaver. Later in life, he repented, repudiated slavery, and wrote Amazing Grace. Near his death he is reported as saying, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior.” Like Newton, the Apostle Paul appreciated God’s grace. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul expresses his gratitude for God’s unmerited favor–that despite how he had blasphemed the name of Christ and persecuted Christ’s followers, the Lord chose him to be a preacher of the Gospel. He said, “God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.” He celebrates God’s favor in filling him with faith and love. He regarded himself as the chief of sinners because he tried to destroy God’s people. He was convinced that God showed mercy to him so he could be an example to others. He was an example of God’s patience with even the worst of sinners; now others will realize that God will save them too if they believe. He gives credit to God alone as the eternal king, the unseen God who never dies. So whether God saved us from a vile evil life or as an innocent child, we know God saved us because of His amazing grace. We should be grateful.

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