John Newton’s famous hymn includes the well-known line, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Paul encourages us in Romans 12:2 to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice in view of “the mercies of God.” Newton never lost sight of God’s mercies. We shouldn’t either.

So I’m wondering, how would you fill in the blanks? I once was ____________, but now I _______________.

I once was drunk,  but now I’m sober.

I once was greedy, but now I’m generous.

I once was an adulterer, but now I’m faithful.

I once was self-centered, but now I’m compassionate.

I once was addicted, but now I’m clean.

I once was a cheater, but now I’m honest.

I once was angry, but now I’m content.

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, warned them about indulging in unrepentant sin. Those who do will not experience heaven here…or in the life hereafter.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV)

And then he makes an astounding observation!

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV, emphasis mine)

And such were some of you. He’s writing to reformed idolaters, homosexuals, adulterers, thieves, greedy, drunkards, verbal abusers (revilers) and cheaters. They once were _______, but now they are ___________.

Live today in light of God’s mercies. We all need a gracious memory of the sin from which God has saved us.

I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.—John Newton