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I am not what I ought to be.
Ah! how imperfect and deficient.

Not what I might be,
considering my privileges and opportunities.

Not what I wish to be.
God, who knows my heart, knows I wish to be like him.

I am not what I hope to be;
ere long to drop this clay tabernacle, to be like him and see him as He is.

Not what I once was,
a child of sin, and slave of the devil.

Thought not all these,

not what I ought to be,
not what I might be,
not what I wish or hope to be, and
not what once was,

I think I can truly say with the apostle,

“By the grace of God I am what I am.”

—John Newton (1725-1807), cited in Letters of John Newton, p. 400.

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7 thoughts on “Is There a Better Description of the Christian Life Than This?”

  1. Luma says:

    I love this quote from John Newton, it breaks me time and again…and gives me hope.

  2. Bruce Russell says:

    Perhaps an imbalanced self absorption.

  3. Rich Tuttle says:

    Newton is the man.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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