Grace Upon Grace

A few mornings ago I heard the phrase, “Grace upon grace”

John 1:16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 

What does it mean to receive grace upon grace? Philo, a contemporary of the writer of the fourth gospel in the 1st century AD wrote:

After the first graces (τὰς πρώτας χάριτας), God bestows:

other graces in place of those graces (ἑτέρας ἀντʼ ἐκείνων)

third graces in place of the second graces (τρίτας ἀντὶ τῶν δευτέρων)

always new graces in place of the older graces (αἰεὶ νέας ἀντὶ πάλαιοτέρων)

yet sometimes different graces (τοτὲ μὲν διαφερούσας)

but other times the same graces anew (τοτὲ δʼ αὖ καὶ τὰς αὐτὰς)

For, on the one hand, the creature never lacks the benefit of God’s graces, since he would be utterly destroyed, yet he cannot bear a great and plentiful rush of them. Because God desires their use to benefit us, He measures the graces given in proportion to the strength of those who receive it.

What does it mean to receive grace upon grace? For we have received of His fullness and grace upon grace. We receive grace after grace until the fullness of Him that we have received is realized in us as mature sons and daughters. Selah I had a vision of a stairway of stones in the middle of a gently flowing river that was actually going up into the sky. Each stone, I knew was grace. Each step could only be taken by faith. Each step brought greater revelation of the immensity of God’s grace. Once on the higher step there was an ability to operate in a greater measure of gifting and calling. Every stone mounted brought greater courage to take on another step. The understanding came that as we climb this stairway, the more grace we have the more faith we have, the more faith we have the more grace we have, the more grace we have and so on. Continuing upwards to the high call of God on our lives we grow in faith to receive more grace, and we have more grace to walk by faith.

What does it mean to receive grace upon grace? 2 Peter 3:18 tells us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ our Lord and Saviour. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” The more we grow in knowledge of our Lord (obedience) Saviour (grace) the more we are whole and fulfilled.

What does it mean to receive grace upon grace? These are simple thoughts on foundation principles but sometimes we forget them along the way. We try to get ahead in our own strength


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