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Grace Upon Grace

Updated: Jan 15, 2019

(By Rachel Joyce)

Many people today have the mistaken idea that grace is like a Get Out of Jail Free card in the game of Monopoly. If you hold that card, then it doesn’t matter if you land on the Go to Jail square or get the Go Directly to Jail card, you can ignore them, play your card, and be on your merry way. Some think that grace means simply that we get to go free because Jesus died for our sins; what they are missing is the power of grace. Grace doesn’t just wipe our sins away and put us on the road to heaven, grace changes us at our core.

When we receive God’s grace, it doesn’t just exempt us from the punishment of our sins, it changes us so that we no longer want to sin. It transforms us. Yes, God’s grace is at work in our salvation. Paul tells us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph 2:8) But grace doesn’t just stop at salvation. We need it as we live our Christian life. The writer to the Hebrews advises us to draw near to the throne of grace, to receive the mercy and grace that we so desperately need as we face the trials and difficulties of life (Hebrews 4:16).

John explains that this grace, this divine favor and timely, enabling power, comes from our Savior’s fullness. Our Lord, the One “full of grace and truth” pours out His grace upon us (John 1:14). He gives us “grace upon grace” (John 1:16 ESV). In the KJV it is “grace for grace.” It literally means “grace in place of grace.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary likens it to waves continually coming to shore. I don’t think it’s like the gentle waves rippling onto the shore. No. I see the waves of God’s grace as mighty breakers, bursting with foam and power, as they crash upon the sand and surge up the beach. Wave after wave, it’s a never-ending thundering of grace.

In Alexander MacLaren’s commentary, he describes it not only as continuous, but also progressive. The more we receive of the grace God provides, the greater our capacity of possessing more. He says,

Each measure and stage of grace utilized and honestly employed will make us capable and desirous, and, therefore, possessors, of more and more of the grace that He gives. So the ideal of the Christian life, and God’s intention concerning us, is not only that we should have an uninterrupted, but a growing possession, of Christ and of His grace.

Our trials drive us to the throne of grace where we receive out of God’s infinite supply. As we receive His grace, it transforms us more and more into the beautiful image of our Savior. And so, little by little, we become more like our Lord. May God grant this to be true of each of us. May He work in our lives and make us more like Jesus day by day until that glorious day when we are with Him and like Him for all eternity.


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