I Once Was Blind But Now I See

You probably can’t read the words below without singing the melody: 

“I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.”  

John Newton, who was born in 1725 in London, England, wrote these lines from the hymn Amazing Grace. In his early adult life, he was a sailor and for a time worked in the slave trade. A series of events led him to faith in Jesus, which eventually led him to enter the clergy. It was here he wrote songs such as Amazing Grace and worked for the abolishment of slavery. He was in many ways like Saul whom we met in Acts 9. He was on a path away from God until grace intervened.

What does this song have to do with Saul on the Damascus road? After encountering the living Christ, see what happens: 

“And he [Saul] said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” (Acts 9:5-9)

Saul thought he could see the truth of God clearly. He knew and followed the law better than anyone (Philippians 3:5-6). But in reality, he was spiritually blind. He knew the law, but he didn’t know God. In his spiritual blindness, Saul couldn’t see the grace of God, the truth of Jesus, or his need for forgiveness.

So in a twist of mercy, Jesus takes away Saul’s physical eyesight so Saul can finally see. Saul went from being a proud man on his way to arrest Christians to a humble man being led into the city. He was blind, but he was now starting to see Jesus.

The stories of John Newton and Saul certainly have an extra level of drama in them, but they are not much different than us. We miss God’s goodness, we minimize His grace, we fail to see His glory because we are spiritually blind apart from Him. But with Jesus all that changes. With Jesus, we see God’s grace. With Jesus, we experience His love. With Jesus, we know God and His goodness. 

Because of the gospel, our eyes are open to know God. What is one aspect of God you see most clearly in your life right now? Will you spend a few moments reflecting on that in worship?

By Philip Jones

Philip and his wife, Stacy, have been attending Immanuel since 2015. They are blessed to be raising four kids. His passion in ministry is to help others follow Jesus through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship.

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