Friday, June 16, 2017

The Vision (6.16.17): Grace for Grace

Image: Magnolia, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 2017.
Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 1:15-18.
And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace (John 1:16).
John here declares that the fulness [pleroma] of God which rests in Christ (cf. Colossians 2:9) rests also in us. The “all” here does not mean all men without exception, but all saved men. There is a diving line between men who know, trust, and are united to Christ and those who stand outside of Christ.
Christians are the recipients of something that other men do not receive. By union with Christ they receive his fulness, and, John continues, it is “grace for grace [charin anti charitos].”
What does “grace for grace” mean?  There are at least two possibilities.
First: It may have the sense of a super-abundance of grace, of grace piled up on top of grace. Imagine stacks upon stacks of firewood. We have cord upon cord of grace in Christ. In this sense, it speaks to the grace of salvation.
Matthew Poole:
Nor have we received drops [of grace], but grace upon grace; not only knowledge and instruction, but the love and favor or God, and spiritual habits, in proportion to the favour and grace which Christ hath (allowing for our short capacities).
Matthew Henry:
Grace for grace is an abundance of grace, grace upon grace … one grace heaped on another.; as skin for skin is skin after skin, even all that a man has (Job 2:4). It is a blessing poured out, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Second: it may have the sense of grace that is always replenished, supplied, or even replaced by even more grace. In this sense, it speaks to sustaining and sanctifying grace. The Christian never exhausts the supply of God’s grace for God’s ongoing work in his life.
Caution: We must be wise stewards of this assurance and not presume upon it to act in a lawless (antinomian) manner. Indeed, such a false path will not be continuously followed by one who is genuinely converted.
This is the great benefit that has come to sinful men through the Word becoming flesh. Grace for grace, grace upon grace, heaps of grace, a super-abundance of grace. Grace also that sustains us for the living of the Christian life through whatever challenges, whatever setbacks, whatever discouragements we might face.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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