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One Gracious Blessing After Another…
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.”
John 1:16 NLT
Earlier today, Barb had me look at an upcoming Heaven On Wheels lesson in which a feast features prominently. While looking at the various images she was sifting through to add to the post, both of us became very hungry! Fortunately, dinner time was just a few minutes away…
That got me thinking about and thanking the Lord for the abundance we have enjoyed so far in our lives. One of the most profound moments in my Christian life is when I realized how good He has been to us, and accepting the fact that it is God who provides, not us. Sure, we can think that we have “all the goodies” thanks to our smarts, our careers, or brilliant investments we may have made, but it’s all from God.
Today’s verse comes from the prologue to the Gospel of John, where the Apostle begins to witness to the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem. Now, when I think of the word abundance, I think of stuff — mainly food or personal property — but here John is referring to God’s grace.
That’s why it’s important for us to look at various translations of the Bible. I find the New Living Translation (NLT) to be very readable to my 21st-Century sensibility, but it misses some of the context of the earlier translations.
The King James Version translates John 1:16 as “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”. Leon Morris, in “The Gospel According to John1”, explains that this means:
“God’s grace to His people is continuous and is never exhausted. Grace knows no interruption and no limit.”
Grace is defined as “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.2” He can show us His love in many ways, and that love is uninterrupted and unlimited. That is what is abundance means. It’s more than food — we may experience famine — and it’s more than riches — all we “own” can be gone in a second. But nobody can ever take away the “freely given, unmediated favor and love of God” for those who believe in Him.
Morris, Leon "The Gospel According to John" (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1971)