Untamed God: A Healthy Fear Of The Almighty

Untamed God: Twas Grace That Taught My Heart To Fear

October 12, 2014

Jim Nicodem

Everybody knows John Newton’s song, Amazing Grace.

According to one estimate—this song is performed about 10 million times every year. (Don’t you wonder how they come up with estimates like that?!)

So 10 million times a year, people sing these lyrics: Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. What in the world does that mean? I’ll tell you what these words meant to John Newton—who penned them in 1779.

Before Newton became a Christ follower—he lived a pretty wild life. At one point, he was even the captain of a slave-trading ship. But one day it dawned on Newton that at some point in the future, he’d have to face an awesomely holy God—and account for all the times in his life that he had disobeyed God. That thought caused Newton great fear.

Now, the fact is—we should all fear the prospect of facing an awesomely holy (perfectly righteous) God. All have sinned (the Bible says in Romans 3:23) and fall short of the glory of God. And because we’re all sinners, Hebrews 9:27 warns us that we are destined to die once and after that to face judgment. That’s frightening!

What did Newton do with his fear? Well, this fear drove him to pursue a solution to his sin crisis. Newton went looking for a Savior. And somebody explained to him that if he’d surrender his life to Jesus Christ—Jesus’ death on the cross would pay the penalty for his sin; and Jesus’ resurrection would provide Newton with the power to live a brand new life.

Newton surrendered to Christ—and he was thankful, as he looked back, for the fear of God’s holy judgment that initially moved him in Christ’s direction. Twas grace that taught my heart to fear—so that grace my fears relieved.

Fearing God leads to the blessing of salvation. People who make light of God’s holiness, who don’t fear God, who don’t see their need for Christ, never surrender to him…they miss out on salvation. Fearing God leads to God’s blessing.

Today, we’re going to learn about four other blessings that God reserves for those who fear him.