Titus 3:5 declares, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
“Regeneration” here means “making anew,” or “reviving and producing something new.”
John Newton, as a child, was taught many verses of Scripture by his mother, who later died when he was no more than six years of age. He was reared in the home of a relative, who was not a Christian.
Wild and untamed, he joined, then deserted, from the British navy, and fled to Africa in order, as he put it in his memoirs… “that I might sin my fill.” He had a reputation of being able to curse for two hours without repeating himself.
In Africa, he connected with a Portuguese slave trader. When this man was away from home, Newton was treated worse than an animal by the person left in charge. He was reduced to a single shirt which he washed in the ocean. For months, he was forced to grovel in the dirt, and pick up his food with his mouth from the ground, being lashed by a slave if he touched it with his hands.
Thin and emaciated, he escaped inland, and was later converted to Christ through a missionary.
He became a sea captain, and then, a minister. He wrote many hymns, his most popular being “Amazing Grace.”
In the United Parishes of St. Mary Woolnoth, and St. Mary Woolchurch Haw in London, of which he was the pastor, there is still an epitaph, which John Newton wrote for himself. It reads:
“Sacred to the memory of John Newton, once a libertine and blasphemer and slave of slaves in Africa, but renewed, purified, pardoned, and appointed to preach that Gospel which he had labored to destroy!”
“Every believer is God’s miracle.”
Pastor David Arnold
Gulf Coast Worship Center
© 2013 Rev. David Arnold Ministries, All rights reserved.