Is any hymn more beloved than Amazing Grace? The lyrics do seem to sum up a Christian’s journey of redemption, the divine Grace of God, and the promise of eternal life. With its simply-stated definition of eternity: “When we’ve been there 10,000 years … we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun,” it is no wonder that it is sung at many funerals. You can better understand how the lyrics are able to capture the true meaning of divine grace when you realize just how the hymn came to be written. An Anglican priest, John Newton, used the hymn to reflect on his earlier service as captain of a slave ship. He could think of nothing more evil than those deeds, and was amazed God would provide such grace despite his wretched past. Note the passion in his words:
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 fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
Know that if God gives grace to a man with this depth of sin, He can certainly forgive your past and open the gates of heaven to you for eternity.