Thursday, May 03, 2012


“You answer us in righteousness, with awe-inspiring works, God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the distant seas.” (Psalm 65:5 HCSB)

There is perhaps no hymn so familiar and more cherished than, “Amazing Grace.”  Written by John Newton, the formerly profane tongue expressed, with a redeemed vocabulary, his astonishment that God would save such a wretch.  Newton captained a slave ship and sold people like property with callused unconcern.  God did a work of grace in his life that changed his heart and broke the chains of sin that enslaved him.  His love for God moved him to love those made in God’s image, and he helped provide the impetus for the abolition of slavery in England—and that movement, eventually, in America.

For me, God’s grace is still amazing, though I have heard that hymn countless times over the course of half a century of life.  As for me, I am still praising, that God would save this wretch, born hell-bent for eternal despair, but who can now die heaven-bound for eternal glory.  As we sing the hymn, we commence the song in awe of God’s grace despite our exceeding wickedness and we conclude it in adoration of God’s grace deserving our eternal worship!

David writes a similar hymn in Psalm 65.  He does not use the word, “grace” in this melodic masterpiece, but the text is permeated with its sweet perfume.  King David furnishes the choir director with his version of “Amazing Grace.”

I find it still amazing, and I’m still praising God for the GRACE THAT SUMMONS (v.1-3).

“Praise is rightfully Yours, God, in Zion; vows to You will be fulfilled. All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. Iniquities overwhelm me; only You can atone for our rebellions.”

David indicates that the only proper response to God’s grace is to praise Him.  We can claim no credit.  We are lost and cannot find our way.  We are blind and cannot see the way.  Our iniquities are sufficient to indict us for all eternity.  It is a sentence that demands exclusion from God’s presence.  We are rebels with no means to atone for our crimes against heaven.  Yet, a gracious Shepherd comes seeking the straying sheep.  A gracious Physician opens our blind eyes.  In the most indescribable act of love, this God sends His Son to atone for our sin—this Infinite One who became the Incarnate One, and we look to the cross and exclaim with David, “only You can atone for our rebellions.”  It is grace that summons us—the Holy Spirit that comes to call us from our wretched state, wicked deeds and wayward paths.

“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.”

I find it still amazing, and I’m still praising God for the GRACE THAT SELECTS (v.4).

How happy is the one You choose and bring near to live in Your courts! We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, the holiness of Your temple.”

To be summoned by grace and provided an invitation to salvation is such an extravagant love.  David was overwhelmed with gratitude that he would be chosen to approach God and abide in His presence.  Sinners, like we are, deserve no opportunity, yet in Christ it has been given.  But, then that opportunity is followed by God bringing us into a redeeming relationship with Him.  If we are saved it is because we have been selected by grace to be His own!

Surely, David knew that to enter God’s courts as a sinner was to be struck dead.  It was a fearful thing to approach the One who dwelt between the cherubim.  But, his fears were supplanted by happiness for the Holy One had bestowed the goodness of grace on him!  Grace qualifies us to enter!  The wrath of God is satisfied in the price Jesus paid and we can then be satisfied with the goodness God lavishes on us, rather than the wrath we merit.  We will abide in His temple, forever!

“T'was 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 that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.”

I find it still amazing, and I’m still praising God for the GRACE THAT SECURES (v.5-8).

“You answer us in righteousness, with awe-inspiring works, God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the distant seas.  You establish the mountains by Your power, robed with strength. You silence the roar of the seas, the roar of their waves, and the tumult of the nations. Those who live far away are awed by Your signs; You make east and west shout for joy.”

God is our salvation.  Salvation is found in Him and in His grace alone.  His righteousness is bestowed upon us by faith.  Our hope is in the Lord.  The One who has established the mountains, secures our salvation.  We are held in His Omnipotent hands!  Joy and peace are our portion.  Those who are “far away” from God have been brought near, and we are reconciled to God.  We who are saved are in awe of His signs—the rugged cross and the empty tomb!  Because of this, we have an everlasting hope, secure eternally in Him.

“The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.”

I find it still amazing, and I’m still praising God for the GRACE THAT SUSTAINS (v.9-13).

You visit the earth and water it abundantly, enriching it greatly. God's stream is filled with water, for You prepare the earth in this way, providing [people] with grain. You soften it with showers and bless its growth, soaking its furrows and leveling its ridges. You crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plenty. The wilderness pastures overflow, and the hills are robed with joy. The pastures are clothed with flocks and the valleys covered with grain. They shout in triumph; indeed, they sing.”

Day after day we receive grace—in the showers that water the earth, in the crops that spring from the soil, and in the flocks and herds that populate the pastures.  God feeds us.  He sustains us.  That is grace!  Look around at the blessings God abundantly bestows, and you will sing, “Amazing Grace” with fervor! Surely goodness and mercy will be our traveling companions, sustaining us until we get safely home.

“Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.”

For eternity, unencumbered by human weakness and time’s constraints, we will sing of His grace.  It will still be amazing and we’ll still be praising!

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