What is grace upon grace? And how can we use it to explain God’s grace written in Scripture and applied for us today?
How do you explain God’s grace?
We learn a lot about grace in the Bible, but have you ever thought about how to describe grace in your own words?
When you hear the phrase “grace upon grace”, how would you explain that to someone curious about your Christian faith? How would you answer questions they have like, What is the spiritual meaning of grace? What does grace for grace mean in the Bible?
In this article, we’re going to talk about the meaning of grace according to the Bible and how to interpret phrases like “grace upon grace.”
Because we want anyone who reads this article to walk away with a clear understanding of what grace is, we’re going to leave all the fancy language at the door and keep things as simple as possible.
Let’s dig in, shall we?
What Is the Spiritual Meaning of Grace?
Grace is one of those topics that can get complicated really fast. I find when conversations about God and grace start to get complicated, it’s best to revisit the basics.
What is the spiritual meaning of grace? Simply put, grace is when God (or anyone really) gives us goodness that we don’t deserve.
The best and most powerful example of grace is the gift of eternal life with Jesus.
We don’t deserve it.
We can’t earn it.
But because God loves us so deeply, He made it possible for us to have what we don’t deserve; eternal life with Him.
We call it salvation. Paul describes it in the Bible like this,
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)…Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)
Is there more than one type of grace in the Bible?
I’ve heard it taught that there are 4 types of grace. If you want to dig into that this post teaches about the 4 types of grace in the Bible.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what grace is, we can move into another common question about grace; what is the meaning of double grace?
What Does Grace for Grace mean in the Bible?
The term grace for grace or grace upon grace comes from a verse in John chapter 1. In this portion of John, the disciple John is describing who Jesus is, His reason for coming to earth, and what we gain as recipients of Jesus’ love. John writes,
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him and called out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who is coming after me has proved to be my superior, because He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
What does grace upon grace mean? Grace upon grace is another way of describing an abundance of grace; even ongoing grace.
See God deals in grace much differently than we do. Maybe it’s because He sees the bigger picture of what grace is supposed to accomplish.
People see grace as something that is given freely once and only given again if our performance merits it.
God on the other gives us grace based on how deeply He loves us. It’s an ongoing expression of God’s love and commitment to people; despite our sin and wrongdoing. Some believe that sin disqualifies us from receiving God’s grace. The Bible actually teaches the opposite. When we sin, if we come to God with repentant hearts, He will meet us with abundant grace every single time.
This grace upon grace verse describes it best,
…where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When we’re truly repentant, nothing can separate us from God. Grace wins every time.
Side note: If you haven’t listened to Matthew West’s Grace Upon Grace song I highly recommend you take a listen! You can find it on YouTube!
What Is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy
Growing up I learned to describe grace and mercy like this, “Grace is when you’re given more than you’re worthy of. Mercy is withholding a consequence that is deserved.” Grace and mercy serve two different purposes but God is the giver of both and He gives both abundantly.
King Solomon describes God and His mercy like this,
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”
It’s incredible how perfectly God loves us.
His mercies renew every morning.
His grace is ongoing, always available when we need it.
And His love never fails.