John 1:14b & 16-18 – Fullness of Grace
John 1:14 (ESV) — 14b & 16-18 …glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
John has told us that creation was made through him – hands on (breath of life into the dust).
• We talked about how this parallels how the new birth is through him – hands on (crucifixion on the cross).
• Now John tells us that grace and truth came through him.
• How are grace and truth through Jesus?
• BTW – today, we will only be dealing with grace; we will consider truth next week.
1) GRACE UPON GRACE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
I want to first see how grace came through Christ and then explore what this grace is.
• John gives us a hint of how grace came through Christ when he says that it came “from his fullness”.
• “Fullness” here refers to the abundance of grace present in the incarnated Christ.
• Therefore, it was through the incarnation (the physical life of Christ) that the grace and truth of Christ manifested themselves in space and time.
So we have yet another “hands on” parallel.
• Grace was “hands on” in that it came through God being made flesh in the incarnation of Christ.
Paul says as much himself:
• Romans 5:2 (ESV) — 2 Through him [God incarnate – Jesus Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
What is Grace?
The scholarly definition:
• The absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor – Strongs.
• This helps us isolate the grace we are discussing as a grace that exists between Creator and creation.
• But to really get a grasp of what this definition means, let’s use my favorite pastime of Bible-on-Bible commentary.
I think the best way to see what grace is will be to see what it does.
Grace empowers His choosing and our will:
• Romans 11:5 (ESV) — 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.
• Galatians 1:15 (ESV) — 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
Grace empowers belief:
• Acts 18:27 (ESV) — 27 And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,
Grace empowers repentance:
• Zechariah 12:10 (ESV) — 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
Grace empowers our justification:
• Romans 3:23–24 (ESV) — 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Grace empowers our salvation:
• Ephesians 2:5 (ESV) — 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
• Acts 15:11 (ESV) — 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
• Romans 5:21 (ESV) — 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Grace empowers a sanctified Christian life:
• 2 Corinthians 9:8 (ESV) — 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
• Acts 20:32 (ESV) — 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Grace empowers Christian service:
• Hebrews 4:16 (ESV) — 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
• Acts 6:8 (ESV) — 8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people.
• Acts 14:3 (ESV) — 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
POI – God’s common grace even blesses those who are not saved.
• Matthew 5:45 (ESV) — 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Grace led the Lamb to the slaughter:
• Hebrews 2:9 (ESV) — 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
• 2 Corinthians 8:9 (ESV) — 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Grace alone is enough:
• 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) — 9a But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
• Paul asked for healing – Jesus said “My Grace” is all you need and besides I am glorified in your weakness.
So from the above, we get a glimpse of all that the grace that came “through [the incarnate] Jesus Christ” does.
• It is not hard to see how this grace figures into our own lives.
• But so as to be even clearer, we will look at a specific Biblical example of “his fullness” of grace next week.