In his old age, when he could no longer see to read, John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace” heard someone recite this verse, 1 Corinthians 15:10. He remains silent a short time, and then said:
I am not what I ought to be. Ah! How imperfect and deficient.
I am not what I might be, considering my privileges and opportunities.
I am not what I wish to be. God, who knows my hurt – knows I wish to be like Him.
I am what I hope to be. Before long, I will drop this clay tabernacle, to be like Him and see Him as He is!
Yet, I am not what i once was – a child sin, and slave of the devil!
Though not all these -not what I ought to be, not what I might be, not what I wish or hope to be, and not what I once was – I think I can truly say with the apostle, “By the grace of God- I am what I am!”
At the age of 82, Newton said, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things that I am a great sinner – and that Christ is a great Savior!”
John Newton’s tombstone reads: “John Newton, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, but the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.”
In today’s passage in the book of Acts, we will see the power of God to change a life. A man named Saul would never be the same as he came face to face with the One he was persecuting. Can people really change? Can a life really be turned around? For John Newton, the answer was, “Yes!” For Saul in the book of Acts, the answer was, “Yes!” The answer today is still a resounding “Yes!”