John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. NKJV
I’ve been sharing about grace! It’s really been in my spirit and on my mind! In the Old Testament, God showed favor to Abraham and his descendants, His chosen people, through special attention and miraculous interventions. He elevated them, He did ridiculous and mouth opening feats before their very eyes, and caused many to have a fear and respect for His people, all because of His grace. In the New Testament, God demonstrates His Grace towards mankind, all of mankind, in the Person of Jesus Christ! Let’s get into our topic for today!
The Logos Bible commentary defines grace in this manner:
The unmerited favour of God, made known through Jesus Christ, and expressed supremely in the redemption and full forgiveness of sinners through faith in Jesus Christ. (Logos)
This unmerited favor of God, through Jesus Christ, is God’s promise of grace fulfilled. If we take a look at our key verse, we see that Jesus Christ, the Word, made manifest in the flesh, came with grace and truth. He is the embodiment of God’s grace extended to all of mankind. The favor that God extended in the Old Testament, pales to the favor He extended in the person of Jesus! Many find themselves wishing they could “know” the God of the Old Testament in the same way that Abraham, Isaac, Moses, and Elisha did. However, the grace demonstrated to them in the Old Testament was only a glimpse of the grace to be poured out in the New Testament!
Grace and mercy can be confusing to some believers. Therefore, let me share the difference of the two, in case you need clarity. Mercy is what God extends to mankind, instead of what he deserves for what he did. We are as guilty as can be in regards to sin and its punishment, but instead of giving us what we deserve, He grants us mercy. Grace, however, is what God gives us, even though we did nothing to deserve it, and can do nothing to deserve it.
I like the way William Barclay, a theologian during the 1900s, wrote about grace in his commentary on the book of John:
It always has the idea of something completely undeserved. It always has the idea of something that we could never have earned or achieved for ourselves. The fact that God came to earth to live and to die for men and women is not something which humanity deserved; it is an act of pure love on the part of God. The word grace emphasizes at one and the same time our own helpless poverty and God’s limitless kindness.
Paul, in Ephesians chapter 2, expresses a similar mindset when He writes about the great love that God has for us, even when we were still in our sins. A love that caused Him to extend grace to us, to give us what we did not deserve, because He loves us so much! A love that didn’t wait for us, but a love that drew us to Him. We love Him because He first loved us! 1 John 4:19
The Greek word for grace is “charis” and it simply means favor. I like the way the Strong’s Dictionary defines grace:
of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):—acceptable, benefit, favour, gift
John wrote that when Jesus came, He came full of grace and truth. He came full of divine influence, full of benefits, full of the reflection of God’s purpose and will in the lives of humanity. No other person was an acceptable means of delivering God’s grace to mankind, so He came Himself, in the embodiment of Jesus, to give us access to His riches: salvation, peace, love, joy, hope, prosperity, strength, deliverance, and wisdom to name a few.
John uses an interesting phrase in verse 16 of the first chapter:
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 -NKJV
Grace for grace. I looked the phrase up and it is said to be a poetic phrase reflective of the Greek language and culture. Simply put it means grace that is never ending. I always thought it meant, grace to receive grace, but I like this rendering just as much: never ending grace, full of wonder, full of amazement, mind boggling grace. A poetic sense of sheer loveliness. That’s what God gave us in Jesus!
It is also said, that this phrase is more accurately rendered: grace instead of grace. How is it possible to receive grace instead of grace? The implication here is that grace varies to meet our needs. The grace I need as a young mother, I don’t need as a mother of teens, I need a new grace! The grace I need when things are well is a different grace than the grace I need when there are challenges in my life. God’s grace is not fixed in place, but it rises triumphantly to deal with every situation! Either way you understand this or interpret this, it’s all good!
This reminds me of the situation with Paul, when he asked the Lord to take away the thorn in the flesh. It was not sickness, for Paul said it was a messenger of Satan, buffeting him. In other words, he was under extreme attack, yet again, and he asked God to remove it. But God replied:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
This is a perfect example of grace for grace, or grace instead of grace, as it reads in this commentary. I’ll have to do some more study, but I like the idea rendered, nevertheless!
Can I just add what I thought it meant? I think I will! Grace for grace to me meant that God gives us the grace to understand His grace, and to receive His grace! We can easily understand that grace is His undeserved and unearned gift for salvation, and somehow find it difficult to believe that He wants to favor us in this life. If we are honest, we can easily justify why God would grant favor to Jesse DuPlantiss, Andrew Wommack, Bill Winston, or even our pastor, thinking that they have earned the right for His favor. If this is how we are thinking, we have already forgotten what favor is: it is unearned or undeserved!
I have already cut this blog down, so I will stop here! I am so excited about His grace! I’ll just have to continue with some of this next time! Wonderful Jesus!