A Thousand Years

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Many know the background of the great hymn, “Amazing Grace.” How John Newton (born in 1725) was only 11 when he went to sea with his father. How he spent much of his youth at sea. How he became captain of his own ship, which traded slaves.

He seemed to be an unpleasant person with no redeeming qualities. Known to be arrogant and insubordinate, he once was fired from a job because of his antisocial behavior.

Then, in 1747, he was on a ship that encountered a fierce storm. Overcome with fear, Newton cried out to Jesus, and his life changed. Grateful and overwhelmed, he wrote “Amazing Grace.”

Its words convey the depth of his conviction. Recalling his years at sea, he wrote, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

This hymn has attracted several verses actually not written by Newton. One in particular describes the glorious future that awaits believers: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining like the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”

The origins of this stanza are not clear. Some attribute it to John P. Rees, who lived in the 19th century. But researchers have discovered these words in another hymn, written in 1790.

We may not be sure of the author, but the message of this verse has moved millions of believers. In this fitting climax to “Amazing Grace,” we have a powerful reminder that we can receive God’s grace right now, and look forward to spending an eternity with our Savior. Worshipping for “a thousand years.”