I knew God wanted me to take a break from chapter devotionals and do some topical devotionals. I had no idea with what topic of the many in my head I would begin. Then this morning I read a post based on last night’s sermon from Robert Gordon, the pastor at my church, “Grace upon grace received, should reciprocate to grace upon grace given.” And God said, “There is today’s devotional.”
John 1:14-18 reads,
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For 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.”
I personally love John’s writing and thinking, he is my favorite of the authors of the Bible. But today I want to unflower his words for you. The same passage in The Message reads,
“The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
15 John pointed him out and called, “This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word.”
16-18 We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding--
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.
No one has ever seen God,
not so much as a glimpse.
This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
who exists at the very heart of the Father,
has made him plain as day.”
Grace upon grace is gift after gift, endless forgiveness, mercy followed by mercy, and kindness piled on kindness. Believers, we accepted that awesome free grace as a perfect gift with no strings attached. But we do not keep it to ourselves. Where is the purpose in that? What is the good of that? Remember, you received that gift because you saw and heard that Jesus is good. Our salvation compels us to spread the word about it to others. Romans 5:15-21 reads,
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
It is not just our words that share the grace of God with others, it is the way we live and interact that shares His grace. Jesus didn’t only preach salvation, He lived it. He forgave sins, healed infirmities, taught many and discipled some. He commanded us to the same, “just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34).
Jesus forgave us so much! Our gratitude for that grace urges us to share that grace with others. God did this amazing work in us, it transforms us, it restores us to who we were meant to be and that is a servant of God, a priest, a minister of God’s grace. Ephesians 2:1-10 says,
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We were created for good works! We were created to glorify God, to make Him famous, so that His glory (His fame, name, and work) would fill the earth and be as abundant as the oceans. (Habakkuk 2:14). We are ministers of God’s grace. We have received it and so we give it to others. We use the gifts God gave us and become the priests God made us to be. 1 Peter 4:7-11 reads,
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Jesus’ is gracious to us and He forgave us. When we consider the depth of what God has forgiven it has results. Jesus said that abundant forgiveness results in abundant love (Luke 7:41-50). Pastor Jim Barringer helps us see just how much Jesus as forgiven. Imagine you could limit your sins both intentional and unintentional, to only ten per day and you lived for seventy years. 3,650 sins per year of your lifetime would add up to 255,500 sins. (And seriously, how many people really limit their sins to ten a day?) That is a lot of forgiveness. What right do we, sinful humans have to withhold forgiveness, mercy, and grace from anyone else, when Perfect Holy God didn’t withhold it from us? In Matthew 6:14-15 after Jesus had taught the disciples how to pray, how to commune with The LORD God our Father He said,
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Pastor Robert Gordon explained our stewardship of grace as a cycle. Jesus’ gives us grace which transforms us, our transformation compels us to give grace to others, which gives us more grace, which results in us giving more grace to others.
So Believer, I encourage you today to share God’s beautiful grace with the world. Let His glory fill the earth!