Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grace upon Grace

"For of His fullness we have all received, 
and grace upon grace."
John 1:16

Looks kind of like a Christmas tree, doesn't it?  Nope - it's just laundry, the necessary evil in all our lives.  I can remember my mother saying that she loves laundry because you start with the messy pile and when it's done you have a neat, folded stack.  And I added, "Yeah, but then you turn around the the messy pile is already forming again when you haven't even put away your neat stack!"  It never ends, does it? Even if right now your laundry is finished, you have dirty clothes on your body that will begin the pile all over again…

So what does this have to do with grace upon grace?  Grace is a lot like dirty laundry - it never runs out.  Just when you think you've exhausted God's goodness, you turn around and there is a whole new pile to pick up and enjoy.  

John 1:16 tells us that we have all received the fullness of Christ, so let's first think about what that means.  Colossians 2:9 says, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…"  This is a reference to Jesus Christ, that God is fully known in the flesh through Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:19 tells us, "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him…", so Christ in the flesh was a pleasing thing for the Father.  And Ephesians 3:17-19 says, "…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."  Christ in me is the only way to know the fullness of God - the breadth, length, height and depths of His love are all-consuming and all-filling.  Of this fullness, we have received - Jesus is God incarnate and believers have received God when they put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  

We have to start with the fullness to understand the grace upon grace - when you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, now you see life through spiritual eyes.  A near miss on a wet road is no longer a lucky coincidence, but God's loving protection.  In the same manner, a cancer diagnosis is no longer reason to question God's goodness but rather an opportunity to draw near to the Father and trust in His sovereign will.  As believers, we should see grace all over the place - in every breath, every new sunrise, every opportunity to hold a baby in church, every homework assignment and yes, even every load of laundry.

It's a matter of perspective.  When you know Christ, you understand that there is a much bigger story in the works.  You know that redemption came at a high price and that God wants an intimate, personal relationship with His image bearers.  You know that every new day is common grace extended to the unbelievers - another day to humble themselves and cry out for mercy before the day of judgment.  You know that even the mundane chores of life are an opportunity to steward responsibly for God's glory the tasks He's placed in our care.

So the next time you look at that pile of laundry (like in the next few hours), remember the never-ending supply of grace and goodness that God showers on your daily, because you have received His fullness through Christ.  As you fold, thank Him for individual blessings and before you know it, it will be time to do the laundry again...

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