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From His Fullness

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.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:14,16-17

I’m amazed by the depths and riches of these verses. 
They say so much, particularly about God.


  • Became flesh
  • Lived among humans
  • Has glory
  • Is the only Son of the Father
  • Is full of grace
  • Is full of truth
  • Pre-existed
  • Is full
  • Gives 
  • Gives grace upon grace from His fullness
  • Gave the law through Moses
  • Brings grace and truth

Wow! What a God! As I studied this passage, I couldn’t help but marvel at the glorious revelation in His Word. There’s simply no way a human made it up. It’s so far outside of our understanding--our lens. It’s amazing. It’s startling. It’s grace. It's truth. It’s completely, unequivocally, full.

Word to flesh

“And the Word became flesh is John’s most startling statement so far,” writes David Guzik in his study guide on John 1. “It would have amazed thinkers in both the Jewish and the Greek world to hear that the Word became flesh.”

Greeks, for instance, generally thought of God “too low.”

“To ancient people, gods such as Zeus and Hermes were simply super-men; they were not equal to the order and reason of the Logos,” says Guzik.

At the opposite, Jews thought of God “too high.”

“Ancient Jews had a hard time accepting that the great God revealed in the Old Testament could take on human form,” writes Guzik.

There’s something about it that, whether we relate more with the Greeks or more with the Jews, humanity has trouble wrapping our minds around. That’s what makes the redemption bought by Christ so very wonderful.

Word among us

To add to the startling idea that God would take on flesh, John writes that “He dwelt among us.” This idea laces with God coming to and living with Israel in the tent of the tabernacle.

“The idea behind this phrase is more literally, dwelt as in a tent among us,” writes Guzik. “It could be stated, and tabernacled among us.”

The ESV Study Bible gives another description: “Dwelt among us means more literally ‘pitched his tent’, an allusion to God’s dwelling among the Israelites in the tabernacle.” (Exodus 25:8-9; 33:7)

I love this imagery. Jehovah pitched His tent among His people. The tabernacle, according to Guzik, was many things that Jesus is among His people:

The tabernacle is…

  • The center of Israel’s camp
  • The place where the Law of Moses was preserved
  • The dwelling place of God
  • The place of revelation
  • The place where sacrifices were made
  • The center of Israel’s worship

As Spurgeon writes: “If God has come to dwell among men by the Word made flesh let us pitch our tents around: this central tabernacle; do not let us live as if God were a long way off.

Yes and Amen.

We Beheld

This particular passage focuses heavily on God, and rightly so. But there’s one phrase in particular that gives us insight into a human response: “we beheld,” or “we have seen.”

We don’t give. We don’t save. But we do behold.

And it’s more than simply see or look. The Greek word theaomai is defined by Vine’s Expository Dictionary as “to behold, view attentively, contemplate...It signifies a more earnest contemplation than the ordinary verbs for “to see.”

“The word beheld is stronger than the words “saw” or “looked,” says Guzik. “John tells us that he and the other disciples carefully studied the glory of the Word made flesh.

And that carries implication for how believers relate to Jesus. We are called beyond “seeing” to a careful study. We are called into beholding his fullness.

Grace and Truth

The text says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. 

Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on John, writes: “Jesus Christ has fullness of grace and truth. Grace is God’s favor and kindness bestowed on those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it. If God dealt with us only according to truth, none of us would survive; but He deals with us on the basis of grace and truth. Jesus Christ, in His life, death, and resurrection, met all the demands of the Law; now God is free to share fullness of grace with those who trust Christ. Grace without truth would be deceitful, and truth without grace would be condemning.

Wiersbe’s words gave me pause and drove me to some introspection.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I got my start writing in my diary. In 8th grade, I got one of my poems published in an anthology book. But as far as official training, I am a journalist. My degree is in communications-journalism. My first writing job was for the local newspaper--where I am still a columnist. And, whether from personality or training or a little bit of both, truth is important to me. 

I’d say that given a choice between speaking truth or speaking grace (if they can’t go together) I would lean toward truth. I know there are others that would rather speak grace than truth. I’d like to take a guess that we all fall somewhere on this spectrum and sometimes find it difficult to maintain a balance. The ideal would be truth tempered with grace. I strive for this. I don’t always do it well. Sometimes I can’t fathom how those two things can go together. There are certain situations that seem to call for one and not the other.

But, the amazing thing is, that when our human lens can’t possibly understand how, especially in particularly difficult circumstances, truth and grace can find companionship--or at least balance--Jesus Christ does it perfectly, and from fullness.

From His Fullness

In addition to being full of grace and truth, the text says that humans receive from his fullness. And what do we receive? Grace upon grace. Or, as some versions say, grace for grace.

Moving to verses 16-17, we see that in this “new order” there is an “inexhaustible supply of grace and truth, contrasting with an order of rigid laws and regulations given through Moses,” explains Guzik.

It could be easy to use this arrival of Christ--this grace for grace--as a dismissal of the law. However, the book of Romans indicates otherwise. Romans 7 describes how the law shows us what sin is, and Romans 2:4 states that it is a kindness of God to reveal our sin and is intended to lead to repentance.

“In John 1:17, John did not suggest that there was no grace under the Law of Moses, because there was,” writes Wiersbe. “Each sacrifice was an expression of the grace of God. The Law also revealed God’s truth. But in Jesus Christ, grace and truth reach their fullness; and this fullness is available to us.”

It’s amazing to read scripture to see how God’s covenant faithfulness found fulfillment in Christ. 

“According to John, God’s covenant faithfulness found ultimate expression in his sending of his one-of-a-kind Son, Jesus Christ,” says the ESV study notes. “The contrast is not that the Mosaic law was bad and Jesus is good. Rather, both the giving of the law and the coming of Christ mark decisive events in the history of salvation. In the law, God graciously revealed his character and righteous requirements to the nation of Israel. Jesus, however, marked the final, definitive revelation of God’s grace and truth.”

It's here we can rest in His unequivocal fullness.

Advent Desire

May we believe that Christ is complete and full, lacking nothing. May we believe that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. May we receive what God gives. May we have eyes to behold and may our hearts and lives reflect a balance of truth and grace. 

More in this series:
the WORD Eternal
the Un-Neutral Heart

Unknown & Unreceived

Receive & Believe
A Critical Declaration

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Article Sources:

  • English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible 
  • Guzik, David. Study Guide for John 1. (Blue Letter Bible)
  • The New Bible Commentary: Revised. Edited by Guthrie, Motyer, Stibbs, Wiseman.
  • Wiersbe, Warren. Commentary on John.


  1. I love thinking of God tabernacling among us. So unassuming. For us.

  2. "Grace without truth would be deceitful, and truth without grace would be condemning.” Wow, that's really deep!


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