Grace and Glory
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
What is heaven? Do God’s saints go to heaven immediately when they leave this world? What is the condition, or state, of the saints’ existence in heaven? Who shall enter into heaven’s glory? Upon what grounds do the saints enter into heaven?
These are the questions I hope to answer in this and the chapters that follow. I realize at the outset that I can do no more than scratch the surface of this great subject. The glory that awaits God’s saints in heaven, the vastness of our inheritance with Christ is light years beyond the scope of our puny brains. I have no hope of exhausting this subject. In preparing these studies, I have purposefully avoided all matters of vain curiosity and speculation. It is my purpose to set forth some of those things which are plainly taught in the Word of God about the glorious state of God’s saints in heaven.
Psalm 84 is described in the title as “A Marching Song” (See margin.). In the eleventh verse, God’s pilgrims are inspired in their march through this world with these words of promise: “The Lord will give grace and glory.” The Psalmist takes our minds away from ourselves and calls our attention to “The Lord,” Jehovah, our God and Savior. We must not look to ourselves in any measure for either grace here or glory hereafter. The Source of grace and glory is the Lord. The Security of grace and glory is God our Savior. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation. To him alone we must look for grace and glory.
“The Lord will give grace and glory.” — The word “give” declares that neither grace nor glory can be earned, merited, or purchased by man in anyway. This text, like all the Word of God, puts us upon the footing of grace. God cannot be obliged by man to bestow his grace; and he cannot be obliged by man to bestow glory. Both grace and glory are free gifts of God; and where he gives one he is sure to give the other.
Grace and glory are inseparable gifts. They are really the same thing. Grace is glory in the seed. Glory is grace in full bloom. Glory begins in grace. And grace is completed in glory. “Grace is glory begun, and glory is grace consummated. Grace is glory in the bud, and glory is grace in the fruits. Grace is the lowest degree of glory, and glory is the highest degree of grace” (Francis Burbitt).
These are two great and marvelous gifts which God bestows upon fallen men in Christ, grace and glory. The first thing he gives is grace. The last thing he gives is glory.
“The Lord will give grace.” — How we love that word “grace.” Grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. In the life, experience and hope of the believer everything is of grace, from the beginning to the end. Every believer gladly confesses, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”
Read this promise in the boldest letters imaginable and rejoice. — “The Lord will give grace!” The promise comes from God the Lord. The Lord God Almighty, the great Jehovah, the triune God will most certainly, by his own irresistible power, according to his own sovereign will, give grace, freely and irreversibly.
To whom will the Lord give grace? We know that he will give grace. It is asserted plainly. Someone is going to get grace from God. But who?
The Lord will give grace to his own elect (Rom. 9:15-16). Grace belongs to God. It is his sovereign prerogative to give it to whom he will. And there are some among the fallen sons of men whom God has chosen to be the recipients of his grace (John 15:16; Matt. 11:25-27). Not one of those chosen in electing love, before the foundation of the world, to be a vessel of mercy shall fail to receive that grace before passing out of this world.
The Lord will give grace to every sinner redeemed by Christ’s precious blood. Every sinner redeemed and purchased by Christ is his and shall obtain grace. Christ did not die in vain! All whom he redeemed by blood shall have the grace of forgiveness (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). All whom he purchased shall have the grace of reconciliation (Col. 1:20). All for whom Christ was made a curse shall have the grace of free justification (Rom. 8:34; Gal. 3:13). All for whom Christ was made to be sin shall have the grace of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). All for whom he died shall have the grace of eternal life (John 10:8, 27).
The redemption which Christ accomplished is an effectual redemption, which infallibly secures grace for all his redeemed ones. Not one of those whom Christ has redeemed from among men shall perish. Not one of his blood-bought sheep shall be lost. Not one member of his body shall be ruined. Not one part of his bride, the church, shall be destroyed. Those whom Christ has redeemed shall most assuredly obtain grace (Eph. 5:25-27; John 10:16).1
The Lord will give grace to every believing sinner. We do not know who God’s elect are, or who Christ has redeemed, except as they believe the gospel. Yet, we are assured by God that every believer is both elect and redeemed, because God promises grace to all who believe (Mk. 16:16; John 1:12-13; 3:14, 15, 36; Rom. 10:9-13).
The long and short of the gospel is this: If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, if you trust his precious blood alone for your salvation and eternal acceptance with God, he will give you grace. I know that a sinner cannot believe unless he has grace. But I also know that you cannot have grace unless you believe. And to every believing sinner it is promised, “The Lord will give grace.”
What is this grace which God promises to give? The psalmist does not say, “The Lord will give some grace,” “graces,” “or “a grace.” He declares, “The Lord will give grace.” The implication is that wherever the Lord gives any grace, he gives all grace. “The Lord will give...”
· Regenerating grace (Eph. 2:1-5).
· Justifying grace (Rom. 5:1-9).
· Sanctifying grace (Heb. 10:10-14).
· Preserving grace (Phil. 1:6).
· Instructing grace (John 16:13).
· Directing grace (Prov. 3:5-6).
· Comforting grace (John 16:7; Lam. 3:24-25).
· Reviving grace (Isa. 57:15).
· Sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9).
“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.”
How does the Lord give us his grace? God gives his grace to sinners mediatorially, through Christ our Mediator, through the use of the means he has ordained. Without question, God’s saving grace comes to chosen sinners before they seek it (Isa. 65:1). Yet, those who are sought of God are caused by grace to seek him; and he promises that all who earnestly seek him shall find him (Jer. 29:13-14). Believers are people who seek the Lord and seek his grace in Christ continually. He gives grace to those who seek it by prayer, through his Word, and in the keeping of his ordinances. These are the means by which God’s grace is constantly bestowed upon his saints in this world. God gives us his grace seasonably. As our days demand, his grace is given. The Lord our God gives us his grace readily. He is always ready to be gracious. The Lord our God gives us his grace constantly.
“At home, or abroad, on the land and the sea,
As thy days shall demand shall thy strength ever be!’’
Read this promise as broadly as you will. It is to you, child of God, in every condition and circumstance of life, “The Lord will give grace”. He will give you grace to serve him (2 Cor. 12:9), to suffer for him (Phil. 4:13), to endure temptations (1 Cor. 10:13), and to die in him (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Who is it that will give grace? “The Lord will give grace!” Grace is the gift of God alone. You will not get grace from yourself, from the church, from some imaginary priest, at some imaginary altar, or from the law of God. If we would get grace we must get it from God alone. And the only way God gives grace is through Christ (John 1:16-17). Look to Christ. Trust Christ. Believe Christ. Cling to Christ. As we do, “The Lord, will give grace!”
The Lord will give glory, too. The promise reads, “The Lord will give grace and glory.” That little, connecting word, “and,” is more precious than gold. It is an indestructible rivet, forever uniting grace and glory.
There are many who seem determined to take the rivet out; but they cannot. The text does not say, “The Lord will give grace and perdition,” or “grace and purgatory,” but “The Lord will give grace and glory.” And the text does not promise glory without grace. You can no more have glory without grace than you can have grace without glory. The two are riveted together. And what God has joined together let no man put asunder.
If we have grace, we shall have glory, too. God will not give one without the other. Grace, remember, is but the bud. Glory is the flower. Grace is the fountain. Glory is the river. Grace is the firstfruit. Glory is the full harvest. If we have grace, we shall never perish. We shall have glory. But those who do not have grace here shall never have glory hereafter. It is not possible for any to be glorified who have not first been justified. You cannot reign with Christ in glory if Christ does not reign in you by grace. Grace and glory are inseparable gifts of God. — “The Lord will give grace and glory.”
What is the glory that he shall give? I am fully aware that no puny, earthly brain can comprehend it (1 Cor. 2:9). But God has revealed something of the glory that awaits us, that our hearts may be drawn to it (1 Cor. 2:10).
The glory we are to receive is the glory of heaven. Having said that, I have said more than I comprehend. Whatever heaven is, God will give. It is a place of indescribable beauty. It is a state of indescribable bliss. Whatever may be meant by the figurative language that describes it,2 all of heaven shall be ours forever. The Lord will give the perfection of glory without measure to all to whom he has given grace without measure. You and I who trust Christ shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the throne of Christ the Lamb in the kingdom of God.
The glory God will give is the glory of eternity. Eternity! Who can define it? No one on earth can fathom the meaning of the word “eternity.” We always confound eternity with time. We speak of the “endless ages of eternity.” But there are no ages in eternity. Eternity will never pause, decline, or draw near to a conclusion. We will never grow weary of eternity. And we will never grow weary in eternity. Eternity is unchanging, unending bliss.
Moreover, the glory God will give his saints is the glory of Christ, our Mediator, Surety, and Covenant Head (Rom. 8:17; John 17:22). Whatever that glory is which Christ has as our Mediator, as the reward of his perfect obedience to the Father, we shall have when we see him as he is in heaven. My heart pants to know, by actual experience the meaning of what I have just written. Oh, to know the glory that awaits us! Now we look through a glass darkly. But we long to see him face to face, to have the clouds of darkness swept away, that we may know and enter into his glory! In the serene atmosphere of heaven, we shall not only see the King in his beauty, but also possess his glory!
This glory will be the glory of total victory. We are more than conquerors through Christ our Lord (Rom. 8:32-39). By the grace of God and the blood of the Lamb, we shall yet be victorious over the world, the flesh, and the devil (Rom. 16:20). Death shall do us no harm, sin shall bring us no more grief, Satan shall tempt us no more, when the Lord gives us glory.
The glory which the Lord will give us is the glory of a perfect nature (Eph. 5:25-27; Jude 24-25). This was and is the purpose and goal of God in predestination, election, redemption, and regeneration. And God’s work will not fail to accomplish his purpose. In heaven we shall have a perfect nature, spotless, sinless, incorruptible; bodies without weakness, sickness, decay, or death; souls incapable of temptation, sin, care, or trouble; hearts free of unbelief, sorrow, and pain; wills in complete harmony with God’s will. Imagine that! In glory we will possess perfect natures! Holiness, perfect holiness shall be ours!
The glory promised to every believing sinner is the glory of perfect rest (Heb. 4:11). Heaven’s glory shall be a perpetual sabbath, an endless day of perfect peace, perfect happiness, perfect security. “It shall not be possible for a man to have a wish ungratified, nor a desire unfulfilled...Every power shall find ample employment without weariness. And every passion shall have full indulgence, without so much as a fear of sin” (C. H. Spurgeon). This is rest! This is glory! We shall want what our Savior wants, do what our Savior wills, love what our Savior loves, and live for our Savior’s glory perfectly.
This glory is a gift of God’s rich, free, abundant grace in Christ. “The Lord will give grace and glory.” There is not a soul in heaven that came there by his own merit. There is not a crown in heaven earned by the works of men. There is not a note of self-righteousness to mar the song of the redeemed. Glory is the gift of God.
When will the Lord give us this glory? Some will receive glory very soon. For some it will, perhaps, be a while yet. But of this we can be absolutely sure: “The Lord will give glory” as soon as our work here is done, no sooner and no later. And “the Lord will give glory” at the hour he has purposed from eternity, no sooner and no later. Let us ever comfort one another with these words — “The Lord will give grace and glory.” Our trials and troubles here are not worthy to be compared with the glory that awaits us (Rom. 8:18).
1. God’s sovereign election and Christ’s effectual redemption inspire us to preach the gospel fervently to every creature, because we know that “the Lord will give grace” to his chosen, blood bought people (Isa. 53:9-11).
2 The streets of pure gold, the gates of pearl, the walls of jasper, the crowns, the palms, the harps, the songs, the river of the water of life, the trees bearing fruit, the tree of life, all that these things describe all that heaven is the Lord God will give to his elect.