By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Written in the inside cover of my Bible are a few notable and inspirational quotes and Scriptures. Here is one of them:
“I am not what I ought to be,
I am not what I want to be,
I am not what I hope to be;
But still, I am not what I used to be.
By the grace of God I am what I am.”

-John Newton

This powerful quote was penned by a former slave trader who participated in more atrocious acts as a slave captain aboard notorious slave ships than could be recorded. John Newton lived a life of a thousand regrets and yet lived to write the most beloved hymn ever written:
“Amazing Grace.”
One of the interesting realities of John Newton’s life, that few people recognize, is that his conversion did not mark the turning-point in his slavery mentality; rather it was a near-death experience related to physical issues that prompted the timing and change of his heart, long after his conversion.
This reality is significant to me.
It’s easy to assume and suppose that when an individual comes to a knowledge of Jesus Christ there is an instant and dramatic conversion in every area of one’s life.
Sometimes this happens.
But sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes God works in very mysterious, slow ways in an individual’s heart and the process looks unbecoming and even questionable at times.
No matter.

God keeps applying the compress of grace on the swollen results of sin;
and individuals who have need of it.
He loves us through the ugly and unbecoming stages of conformity
 and somewhere in it all …
The slave becomes free;
The free becomes changed,
And we hear the strain of song;
Amazing Grace.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am;
And His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:10