“Grace abounds.” These Bible words are precious to the believing sinner’s heart, mind, and soul. John Newton, in a letter to a friend on November 18, 1778, explained abounding grace well in conjunction with Micah 7:18: “Who is a God like You, removing iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not hold on to His anger forever, because he delights in faithful love” (HCSB).
“It seems that the prophet selects the Lord’s patience towards his own people as the most astonishing of all his perfections, and that which eminently distinguishes him from all other beings. And indeed, the sins of believers are attended with aggravations peculiar to themselves. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were great sinners, but they did not sin against light, and love, and experience. Pharaoh was proud, but he had not been humbled at the foot of the cross. Ahab killed Naboth for his vineyard, but not altogether so basely as David killed Uriah for his wife.
I see many profligate [reckless] sinners around me, but the Lord has not followed them with mercies, instructions, and pardons, as he has followed me. My outward life, through mercy, is not like their’s; but, if the secrets of my heart were laid open, they who are favorable to me would not think me much better than the worst of them. – Especially at some times and seasons, since I first tasted that he was gracious. And yet he has borne with me, and is pleased to say, ‘He will never leave me nor forsake me.’
Well, when we have said all we can of the abounding of sin in us, grace still more abounds in Jesus. We cannot be so evil as he is good. His power is a good match for our weakness; His riches are a good match for our poverty; His mercy for our misery. We are vile in ourselves, but we are complete in him. In ourselves we have cause to be abased, but in him we may rejoice. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
The above quote was taken from page 196 of volume 6, The Works of John Newton.
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)