Grace Short Meditations: 7. More Grace
Jn 1:16 “we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”
Three things have been standing out to me as I have been pondering on ‘grace’. First it is the free, undeserved gift of God to us. Second, it is something we so often take for granted. Third, it is everything good that comes to us courtesy of God. But then this verse came before me and stretched me some more.
Grace had been ‘already given’ and we have pondered that already, when we’ve said that every good thing is a gift of God. We are surrounded by goodness, even though we are often blind to it. A stimulus to our spiritual lives might be to think every morning of some new aspect of goodness in our lives that we become aware of, and then thank the Lord for it. Become more aware of the grace there is there in our lives, even before we touch on our salvation.
But John is thinking about ‘the Word’ Jesus and he is saying that with the coming of Jesus, more grace came. The ‘prior grace’ John refers to, was the Law, God’s explanation of how His design for mankind works that He wanted Israel to live out. Yes, the Law was an expression of God’s grace, a map freely given to Israel showing them how to live. That was a prior expression of grace that all Israel knew but which, again, they mostly took for granted and even forgot about. But it was there in the background, God’s provision of ‘how to’, how to live righteous lives, holy lives, and healthy lives, how to put life back together again when things have gone wrong. It was all there – grace!
But now a new grace is available that comes through the Son, not necessarily an outworking of knowing him (although that is true) but of experiencing him, us being “in Christ” (Rom 6:11, 8:1, 1 Cor 1:30) and him in us (Rom 8:10). He who is full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14) has become one with us and we thus experience him, his grace flowing in us, his power, his character transforming us. This is the grace that comes with our salvation. Let’s just quickly reiterate things that come to us when we come to Christ, things that are in reality expressions of God’s grace, things we didn’t earn or even deserve but which He gave anyway. It starts with forgiveness; we turned to Him confessing our sin, declaring our belief in Jesus, and He just forgave us. We didn’t merit it but He gave it. Then comes cleansing, setting free from the past. Another free gift. Then he declared we were justified and put right in the eyes of justice, we were redeemed, bought from the old life and taken into a new life. Then we were adopted and called children of God. And so it goes on. Do you daily thank Him for these things or do we take them for granted and thus fail to honour Him for them? Let’s be a thankful people.