How John Newton found God’s amazing grace

How John Newton found God’s amazing grace 

On this day in 1748, John Newton converted to Christianity during a huge storm at sea. (Due to calendar adjustments in 1752, the date was later reconfigured to March 21.

Newton was born in 1725, the son of a ship commander. He went to sea at the age of eleven and eventually became the captain of a slave ship. 

He had received religious instruction from his godly mother, but she died when he was a child and he gave up any religious convictions. However, during a violent storm, he called out, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” He believed that God addressed him through the storm and that his grace had begun to work on his life. He called March 10, 1748, his “great deliverance.” 

Newton eventually became a disciple of George Whitefield and came to admire John Wesley. He taught himself Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and surrendered to a call to ministry. He eventually wrote 280 hymns for the church, of which the most famous is “Amazing Grace.” 

John Newton later moved to pastor a church in London, where he influenced William Wilberforce. Though he lost his sight in his later years, he continued preaching until his death in 1807. 

At his gravesite are these words: “John Newton, Clerk, Once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.” 

Jesus used a storm to bring his amazing grace to a lost soul, and through him, to the world. 

What fears would you trust to that grace today?

By Dr. Jim Dennison.