It is one of the subtle truths of the Christian life that we will only live by what we know. Simply stated: our actions are largely determined by what we think – and what we think is based on what we know.
Put another way… we will only have faith for what we believe is available to us. So if our understanding is limited… so also will be our experience. We can only experience what we believe is available for us to experience – and we will scarcely go beyond what we know.
Through my many years of looking at Christianity (and the people who have professed faith in Christ Jesus), one thing continually gnaws at me. As Christians, we often live far beneath what God has made available to us through the all-sufficient work of Jesus.
In so many areas, we have more than we think we do.
This is most apparent when we consider God’s grace. So many of us Christians have been trained to believe that grace is God’s unmerited favor – given to us freely out of His infinite love for us. This is certainly true.
But that is not all there is. Grace is much bigger than we have known. Though the Bible paints a magnificent panorama of the glory of God’s grace – all our focus has been on a relatively small portion of the landscape. We seem satisfied with our simple understandings – and relatively unconcerned about what we have been missing. But what we are missing is essential to our walk…
Our verse for today forms the foundation for this series of talks on God’s grace. I find that it is pretty easy to gloss over this verse (1:16; to get to the more famous verses right before and after it!) But this verse grabs my attention! The truth is: we need ALL that God has for us – and all He has for us is the extension of “His fullness.”
Think about that for a minute… God’s expression to us, through the work of Jesus, is from “His fullness.” God is not holding back. He has not reserved a greater expression for later. He is not waiting for us to become more deserving to receive more at a future time. He has given us “everything we need for life and godliness.” (2Peter 1:3) And we have it NOW. “From His fullness we have ALL received.” The tenses tell the story… Jesus’ work, on our behalf, has released the floodgates of heaven. We just have to place our faith in the fullness of what He has given us.
John 1:16 declares that “we have all received grace upon grace.” That means: Grace, grace, and more grace. And after that… still more grace. In infinite supply. In relentless measure. In overwhelming abundance.
The reason for this? God’s grace IS the story. It’s not about us… or our issues… or our failings… or about becoming better people… or even about our victories. It’s about His grace – filling us… and overflowing from us, until we are like little rivers of grace that flow out to everyone around us with the goodness and mercy of God.
In the days ahead, we will explore this amazing gift of God’s grace…