There was a man who, as a teenager, did what many have been known to do—he ran away from home. He became a crewman on a slave ship. He himself wound up as a slave to an African woman, who severely mistreated him and he nearly starved to death. But, the man escaped and managed to become a sea captain of a slave ship. His life was as wicked and vile as could be.
Yet, one night his vessel almost sank during a violent storm. When all hope seemed gone, he cried out to God. They made it through the storm. It was a turning point for the captain. Afterward he began reading his Bible and was converted to Christ.
You may not know the story. Perhaps you wouldn’t even recognize his name. But, multitudes around the world would recognize his renowned hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
On his tombstone is inscribed:
“John Newton, Clerk,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour,
Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long labored to destroy.”
John Newton discovered, that even for a sinner like him, God’s grace is enough. That is the very subject before us in Romans 5, and as we come to the close of the chapter we find these powerful words:
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,
21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.