After explaining that Christ is “the Word” and “the Light” to every person in the world (John 1:1-9), John makes an enormous, encompassing, extravagant claim:
“Of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16).
The word “fullness” (pleroma) means completeness or totality. The “all” in this text is clearly the entire human race. So the gospel proclaims an unreserved, unconditional giving of Christ to every person.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
…before there was any believing on the part of any person, there was a complete giving on God’s part.
Christ is the one gift in which all God’s gifts are given. In giving Jesus, God gave all He could possibly give. And to whom? To “us,” Paul says. To every man, woman and child!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Yes, one must believe in order to possess eternal life, but before there was any believing on the part of any person, there was a complete giving on God’s part. The “Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Or as Hebrews 7:26 says, He “became us.” To say He “became flesh” is to say He “became us,” for we are, all of us, the flesh He became. He did not merely dwell “among” us, in our geographical proximity. Rather, He literally dwelt within us, within our actual human nature. God literally became a human being. Jesus was given to humanity as a full-fledged member of our race—an irrevocable gift never to be taken back.
The very fact that God “became us” in Christ logically makes the gift of salvation free to all before it can be made experientially personal to any. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). Whether we receive Him or reject Him, He came to us just the same. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). To receive Him and believe in His name are vitally indispensable for entering into the personal experience of salvation. And yet, if He had not first given Himself freely to all, out of sheer love, there would be absolutely nothing to believe or receive.