16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
Verse 16 changes to the author John as the speaker, transitioning from John the Baptist (1:15).
Our verse indicates that Christ the Word is the source of grace. Grace is all that God is free to do for us based on the work of Christ. In this verse the apostle reminds his readers that they have already experienced grace in abundant measure.
Verses 16-18 are a commentary on verse 14, where it is said that Jesus was “full of grace and truth.”
The word “and” picks up verse 14, where beholding the glory of Christ was stated. This continues the testimony of the apostle John, not John the Baptist.
of [out of] His fullness
The word “fullness” indicates complete adequacy of God’s nature in Christ. The wonder of the Son stepping into a human body with grace is a fullness never before seen prior to the incarnation. Christ is abundant in the blessings He offers. He gives; we receive.
we [John the author and those around him] have all received,
The word “we” indicates that all believers collectively receive “grace for grace.” There is nothing of merit here (1 Co 4:7). Everything is mediated through the Son. All of this happened at one point when Christ came and died for our sins in His human body (aorist indicative).
and grace for [upon, in the place of] grace.
This phrase literally reads “grace in exchange for grace” or “grace in the place of grace.” One grace succeeds another grace. One grace is the consequence of the other grace. There is an accumulation of grace here.
The word “for” carries the idea of substitution. Believers receive incessant supply of God’s grace. There is a limitless overflow of grace for every need we might face. When one grace dissipates, God provides more grace. Grace continually tracks grace in endless flow (2 Co 12:9; Eph 2:7)
God’s grace is inexhaustible.
Like ceaseless waves reaching the shore, grace upon grace comes to our lives. God is abundant in His grace toward us. Once He gives grace He exchanges that grace for more grace. He gives one grace only to replace it with another grace. He rewards grace with another grace. This is grace upon grace. Christians are constantly the recipients of God’s grace. His grace comes in successive waves toward us and in larger measures. We receive grace in the place of grace. We receive grace and another arrives. There is no limit to His grace for us.