For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:6-8, NKJV
What it is about the sea that would harden a man? Isolation, perhaps? The limited company of other seamen who have also been calloused?
Intriguing question, best left to those who specialize in human behavior. Maybe the real question for me would be how does that hardened seaman become a Christian? A flagrant enemy of God, arrogant and derisive. So calloused to both God and man that he takes upon himself the business of slave trading without so much as a tickling in his conscience. What causes such a man to spin a 180?
John told us. Grace. Amazing grace. A grace that pursued him over more than two decades. Across the span of countless ocean journeys, three continents, military service and ultimately into the devil’s work. Think Amistad. That’s John’s business. Cruelty. Cold blooded murder. Kidnapping, human trafficking. Slavery.
Why would the God of love pursue such a man? Why wouldn’t the God of justice strike him dead in his heinous sin? He sent an abyss in Newton’s soul, rather than taking his breath. He demonstrated power in a hurricane, but withheld destruction in the storm. Why would the King of Heaven go to such lengths for one despicable man?
Grace. Unfathomable love. Mercy unparalleled. Favor so Divine it turns the soul from darkness to light. The same unmerited favor that is poured out upon me. That chose to redeem me rather than lose me.