The Meaning of Grace Upon Grace

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16, ESV)

The Apostle John says we have received from the fullness of Christ, grace upon grace, or grace after grace. What does he mean by this?

Grace upon grace means God has lavished upon us one gracious blessing after another. Imagine someone stacking one gift upon another until the pile is so high you can’t get over it. That is how God has lavished grace upon us in Christ.

Before diving into the practical implications of this concept, let’s first examine the main key to unlocking the meaning of this text: the relationship between the second part and the first part of the sentence. “Grace upon grace” is a clause that describes “for from His fullness we have all received.” Therefore, understanding how and what we receive from the fullness of Christ helps us grasp the extent to which God has lavished grace upon grace on us.

To provide context, in John 1:14, John says Jesus is full of grace and truth, a phrase often used in the Old Testament to describe God Himself. Furthermore, we know that this fullness in Christ was the fullness of God (Colossians 1:19). So Jesus was full of God, everything that makes God God.

Now, let’s explore the practical side of this message. John says we have received from the fullness of Christ, which is the fullness of God, one blessing upon another. Here is a snapshot of how this works in practice. At salvation, God forgave our sins and cleansed us (grace). After cleaning, He then gave us a brand-new spirit (grace). In addition to the new spirit, He gave us His own Spirit (grace). With His Spirit, He gave us His life, righteousness, nature, and, most importantly, the precious gift of being His children (grace).

The list continues. God has lavished one blessing after another upon us from the fullness of Christ as He makes us His children to partake of His divine nature.


What is the meaning of “fullness,” as used above?

Apply the Word

Know and believe every good thing in you. Jesus has filled you with the same fullness that filled Him on earth.


Bless the Lord for pouring grace after grace upon us.

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