Friday, May 4, 2012

Thou Shalt Remember-Lessons From Newton, Goodwin and Paul

Biographer F. W. Boreham relates the following concerning John Newton, former slave trader and author of "Amazing Grace." Boreham shares that Newton "printed a certain text in bold letters, and fastened it right across the wall over his study mantelpiece:
A photograph of that mantelpiece lies before me as I write. There, clearly enough, hangs John Newton's text! In sight of it he prepared every sermon. In this respect John Newton resembled Thomas Goodwin. 'When,' says that sturdy Puritan, in a letter to his son, 'when I was threatening to become cold in my ministry, and when I felt Sabbath morning coming and my heart not filled with amazement at the grace of God, or when I was making ready to dispense the Lord's Supper, do you know what I used to do? I used to take a turn up and down among the sins of my past life, and I always came down again with a broken and contrite heart, ready to preach, as it was preached in the beginning, the forgiveness of sins.' 'I do not think,' he says again, 'I ever went up the pulpit stair that I did not stop for a moment at the foot of it and take a turn up and down among the sins of my past years. I do not think that I ever planned a sermon that I did not take a turn round my study-table and look back at the sins of my youth and of all my life down to the present; and many a Sabbath morning, when my soul had been cold and dry for the lack of prayer during the week, a turn up and down in my past life before I went into the pulpit always broke my hard heart and made me close with the gospel for my own soul before I began to preach.'" (You can find additional portions of Boreham's biography here).

The apostle Paul, writing to Timothy , testifies to the glorious gospel to which he has been entrusted, remembering the depths of his depravity from which he had found mercy from God:

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17 NASB)

Oh that we would never forget the depths of depravity from which we have found mercy by the grace of God and the redemption made sure in the salvation of Jesus Christ!

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