thoughts of John Newton as expressed in the 5th verse of his hymn
Amazing Grace and its connection with the assurance received by the
resurrection of Christ wherein life is promised beyond natural death.
AIM: That we
might move forward with certainty in this life and be amazed even at the
things which we have not yet seen.
INTR: As we
come to the 5th verse of the original version of Amazing Grace, we take
it as providential that we might connect this with thoughts for
Resurrection Day and what it confirms as to our faith: “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.”
1. It is again
that we note a smooth transition in thought that takes us from an
overview in the first, to conversion in the second, to providential care
in the third, to the Word applied and hope secured in the promise of God
with the Lord as our portion.
2. Now, in the fifth, the expression is
one of confidence of a future life, beginning at death wherein fulness
of life will be known in Christ forevermore.
3. Newton claimed this
life as a possession, and so do all who receive Christ, as it is enjoyed
THESIS: There can be no
life, either present or future, that does not find its origin in the
resurrection of Christ our Lord; all true life is eternal and it is
I. The certainty of death
1. While the aim of the
Apostle is to present hope, the clear implication is that mortality
transitions into the fulness of life experienced.
2. On reading of
mortal decline: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall
tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease
because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be
darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound
of the grinding is low…
3. We are reminded of And as it is appointed
unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27. AND the
conclusion of Job: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet
in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:26.
4. The difference is well
noted as to who is speaking of death and we think of: 14 Forasmuch then
as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself
likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him
that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who
through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
5. Newton, no doubt, remembered the many times when
he thought he must surely die and the terror death held for him – the
scripture above confirms the fact whether admitted or not.
Furthermore, Newton said it well in not using “if” but “when.”
so, he was amazed that certain death held no terror for him and so
should we be.
II. Life as a possession given us in Christ
Consider the words of Jeremiah to Baruch: And seekest thou great things
for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all
flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in
all places whither thou goest. Jeremiah 45:5.
1) Implying that it is
to be pursued and that
2) It is given us to be realized and owned
2. And then remember Peter’s cheering words: 3 Blessed be the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus
Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by
the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in
the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5.
3. “Within the veil” is a reference to
the very presence of God (symbolized by the Tabernacel and Tempe): Which
hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which
entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:19
4. Consider also: My
beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Song of
5. And again, Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on
eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good
profession before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12.
6. What is here
realized in part becomes fully revealed in the fulness of His presence –
He is ours and eternal life is ours to be possessed.
delightfulness of our life in Him
1. The fruit of the Spirit, now and
evermore – we are alive to love, joy and peace
2. Of Joy from
Webster’s 1828: The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or
expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is
caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some
good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or
desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.
feelings are provoked by what we see by faith and then sight
whom and what we know and
3) By what we are doing as we realize that
He is shield, portion, possession and life.
3. Of Peace: A state of
quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation…
Freedom from war and those that war against the soul in particular.
2) Freedom from internal commotion
3) Freedom from agitation or
disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety. It is
rather quietness of mind; tranquility; calmness; quiet of conscience.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
4) And so speaks of Heavenly rest and the happiness of
4. And so to be Amazed for all eternity by such Grace as
Christ our Risen Lord embodies.