You may recall that a few days ago, I shared 12 Bible verses for when you need grace {you can download printable note cards of these verses for free} as a further explanation of my “one word” for 2014, which is, obviously, grace!

I mentioned in that post that here at the blog we will be looking at the meaning of God’s grace throughout this year: what it IS, what it is NOT and what it means for us as Christians. Today I want to share a bit about the first “grace” verse from John 1:16, ESV:

“And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

I thought this verse would make a great theme for this study, as we learn how grace is multiplied and poured out abundantly on us, bringing us into a right relationship with God and motivating our words and actions.


The Definition of Grace

How do we commonly see grace defined? I mentioned this before, but Webster’s 1828 dictionary explains grace this way:

“Appropriately the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits  men receive from him.”

There is a common acronym that goes along with this word: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

That pretty much explains it all, doesn’t it? What more do we even need to know? Quite a bit, actually. There are some misconceptions about grace that exist among Christians and so it’s good to look more closely at this aspect of God.

What Does the “Fullness” of Grace Mean?

Here in the verse from John 1, we see the basis of our understanding of this word and aspect of God. Friends, this is the first and most beautiful part of grace: the Who of grace, Christ Himself. Long before the earth was created, God existed, in three persons. This is something most of us know from Sunday School lessons, but think about it: Jesus Christ existed before time as we know it began! I don’t know about you, but I think that is an amazing truth that is far beyond my comprehension!

Look at Galatians 4:4-7, NASB:

But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In God’s timing, at the perfect moment, when the world was longing and waiting desperately for a word from God through 400 years of silence, He brought into our world the fullness of His grace. If you look at John 1:16 in context, this verse closely follows a verse we often hear around Christmas time:

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14, ESV

Not only is Jesus Himself full of grace, but those who belong to Him have received grace upon grace by His coming, a phrase which can be understood as continual grace in larger measures, the richness of the new covenant made through Christ.

The Greek word for grace is translated “charis” and refers to the “favor of the merciful kindness of God”. Another way to read it is the “loving-kindness” of God, which is often used in the Old Testament when referring to grace, thus the title of our series!

Isn’t it wonderful to know that grace existed before time began? God’s plan of redemption trumps the devil’s plan to ensnare our souls. Because God is timeless, unchanging and sees all things, we can rejoice in the loving-kindness and merciful favor of God, even as we lay dead in our transgressions.

How has the grace, charis, and loving-kindness of God affected you personally? Is there anything you’d like me to talk about regarding the grace of God? Share in the comments!

Read this post to learn about whether or not we are really saved by grace alone!

photo credit flickr/smkybear, text and design added


Your information is 100% safe with us. We'll never share it with anyone. Unsubscribe anytime. Powered by ConvertKit

4 Comments on Grace Upon Grace: A Once a Month, 12 Part Look at the Lovingkindness of God – What is Grace?

  1. I find it so reassuring to know that God’s grace existed long before the world began. It goes to show that grace is part and parcel of who God is; to know Him is to know and experience his all-encompassing grace. A beautiful thought!

Comments are closed.