Daily Archives: 16th July 2016

John Newton

John Newton’s Ring

This is a bit of an esoteric post, but it makes an interesting and most encouraging point – that not only you, but also your salvation itself, is absolutely safe in Jesus’s hands, unshakeable, secure, forever safe, unable to be lost. When Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), He meant it!

John Newton was an eighteenth-century Christian minister, best known for his hymn ‘Amazing Grace’. I want to share here an encouraging passage from a book I am reading at the moment, about how John had a dream that showed him that, as I said above, his life and salvation were safely in the hands of Jesus.

“John Newton was one of the most respected and loved churchmen in England in the 18th century, but his life did not start off in that direction. Newton grew up, became a seaman, and later became a slave trader. Years later, as he was about to enter the ministry, he wrote about a dream he had had early in his slave-trading days that both warned him of the danger of his way of life and gave him a sense of God’s providence. In his dream, Newton was aboard a ship in the harbor of Venice, taking the night watch. A person approached him with a ring, gave it to him, and warned him to guard it carefully because as long as he kept the ring he would be happy and secure. As he thought about these things, a second person came up to him and convinced him of the folly of depending on the ring for his security. Newton dropped the ring in the water and immediately saw fire burst from a range of mountains behind Venice. Too late he recognized the second person as the tempter, who had tricked him into throwing away God’s mercy on his life. All that awaited him now were the hellish flames of those burning mountains. In Newton’s own words:

“And when I thought myself upon the point of a constrained departure, and stood, self-condemned, without plea or hope, suddenly a third person, or the same who brought the ring at first, came to me… and demanded the cause of my grief. I told him the plain case, confessing that I had ruined myself willfully, and deserved no pity. He blamed my rashness, and asked if I should be wise supposing I had my ring again. I could hardly answer to this; for I thought it was gone beyond recall. Immediately, I saw this unexpected friend go down under the water, just in the spot where I had dropped the ring, and he soon returned, bringing the ring with him. The moment he came on board the flames in the mountains were extinguished, and my seducer left me. My fears were at an end, and with joy and gratitude I approached my kind deliverer to receive the ring again, but he refused to return it, and spoke to this effect: “If you should be entrusted with this ring again, you would very soon bring yourself into the same distress. You are not able to keep it; but I will preserve it for you, and, whenever it is needful, produce it on your behalf.”

“After a short time, Newton forgot this dream. A few years later, however, he found himself in circumstances remarkably similar to those in his dream when he “stood helpless and hopeless upon the brink of an awful eternity.” There John Newton found mercy from the Lord. He discovered that the One who restored the ring would also keep it for him. This experience led him to exclaim, “O what an unspeakable comfort is this, that I am not in my own keeping!” [emphasis mine]. As a minister of the gospel, John Newton penned the words to many hymns, including one of the most famous and most often sung hymns of the church, “Amazing Grace.” It was a grace that John Newton knew from experience.”

– Goll, James W. Dream Language: The Prophetic Power of Dreams (pp. 58-59). Destiny Image. Kindle Edition.

There’s a massive Grace message in that story, as well as the message of ‘once saved, always saved‘.  This is a salvation that is worth celebrating – it is finished! Everything that needed to be done has already been done by Jesus on the Cross. All we have to do is to accept it.

We no longer need to ‘do, do, do’ to be acceptable to God; there’s no longer any need for us to try – because it’s all been ‘done, done, done!’

Now that’s Good News!