Grace Receiver

I love the gospel of John. It has a different character than the other gospels. It approaches the mission of revealing Jesus from a distinctive angle when compared with its counterparts. It was written a couple decades after Matthew, Mark and Luke and is much more dense theologically in the picture it paints of Jesus. In fact, the prologue to the gospel (John 1:1-18) has been called “the most theologically dense portion of the New Testament” by more than one commentator.

I was reading this section of John 1 this morning and I was struck by verse 16:

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Up to this point in the prologue, John has revealed among other things that Jesus is “the word” who “is God,” that he was and is “from the beginning,” “full of grace and truth,” “the true light, which gives light to everyone,” and that “in him was life and the life was the light of men.” After these and other descriptions we are told “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” If that wasn’t amazing enough, verse 16 quickly follows:

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

I was struck by this word “fullness,” so I looked it up. It is used 11 times in the New Testament, over a third of those in the book of Ephesians. In the famous prayer of Paul at the end of Ephesians 3, we see it used in a context that mirrors the John 1 occurrence:

Paul prays:

that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

The leading lexicons describe the Greek word we translate “fullness” as “sum total, fullness, even super-abundance.”

…that you may be filled with the super-abundance of Christ…

I’m not quite sure what to do with that. I guess a way to try to explain it would be to say that Jesus Christ possesses an abundance, a fullness, a density of character and power and glory and grace, that he willingly and ably pours upon the children of God who trust in him alone. We have access to the super-abundance of God through Jesus. We receive from this fullness, grace upon grace.

…grace upon grace…

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t wake up this morning with an overwhelming sense of my own worthiness to receive, dwell in, and live with the super-abundance of Jesus. But that’s the point. We receive his fullness by and because of his great grace. Not just grace. Grace upon grace. Grace multiplied by grace. Grace squared.

That is an awesome reality.

Would you join me today, not simply in striving for the fullness of Jesus, but in living in the awareness that he gives it to us by his grace squared? Grace upon grace. I want to be a receiver of that grace today. And I think as I receive it I will be much more apt in giving it. Glory to God.

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About Pastor Andrew

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Carissa, Daddy to four daughters, Lead Pastor at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, WA.
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2 Responses to Grace Receiver

  1. Demetrius Rogers says:

    Beautiful. The extravagance of God is truly mind blowing!

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