Grace and Glory

“the Lord will give grace and glory” Psalm 84:11

Two very rich and remarkable gifts are given to those who love the Lord. The Psalmist tells us an exceedingly great and precious promise. Look with me first at the matter of grace.

Grace addresses us as needy. Needy for what? Well Scripture teaches that the greatest need of any one of us is to have a right relationship with our Creator. We have no right,  simply because we are humans, to the presence of God or His blessings. Not at all.

We are poor and needy and until we humble ourselves we cannot have the needed grace of God working in our lives. All of us need to come to our Creator and ask for His favour, His love, His forgiveness. All this is offered in Jesus the one who died for sinners and came back to life the third day.

God is gracious through Jesus and gives us what we need but do not deserve. This is what is so amazing about grace. Those who believe in Jesus get what they do not deserve and Jesus in turn gets what they deserve. The last thing any of us should want is what we deserve. When a person complains about their circumstances in life and says, “All I want is a little justice.”, they have asked for something they really do not want. The last thing any of us should want from God is justice.

We need and should look for this grace from God that will cover our sins and liberate us into the wonderful world of being His children. Now, when we become Christians we are not to think we will not have the problems common to others. What we can expect, however, is grace to deal with the common problems in life.

The great lesson learned by Job in his suffering is that God is good and gracious in spite of life’s problems. He suffered much and still honoured God. It is sad that when some believers are delivered from a possible tragic situation they say, “The Lord was good to prevent that catastrophe.” The question then is what if the problem entered your life? Would you still say God is good? We must bow before God whatever difficulty comes and say that He is good. He gives grace in the tough times as well as the good.

Then God gives glory. What is this? Well, when we look at Jesus, the thing about glory is not so much His ascension and rule in heaven as His death. John’s Gospel especially shows how Jesus related His glory to his impending crucifixion (John 7:39; 12:23-28; 13:31; 17:5) The closer Jesus got to the cross it seems, the more He talked about His “glory”.

Then Jesus said in John 17:22 “Father…I have given them the glory that You gave Me..” In other words Jesus said that as He would be glorified by His death for sinners, so His followers would glorify God in the way they endure suffering. We who confess Jesus are taught in many places in the Bible that we are called to suffer for the Lord’s sake. The way we bear up under our specific trials tells the world the worth of following Jesus.

When Paul started a church in Thessalonica he only spent 3-4 weeks doing it. Then he had to leave. But as we read in 1 Thess. 3:3-4 Paul reminds these young Christians than when he was with them he warned them that they would suffer trials. In fact he said that God had appointed His people to suffer trials in this life.

So then, when God gives glory we see it as trials by which we can honour Him, just like Jesus was glorified when He suffered the cross. God will give us grace in order that we may have glory. Job, when all his children suddenly dies, when his wealth suddenly was taken, when his health was removed and he suffered physically, and when his own wife turned on him said, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”

How do you handle your problems in life? Are they only things you wish God to take away? Or do you see them as things that, if they are not removed, will be things by which you can glorify God? God gives grace and glory. Receive both and praise Him in spite of your problems today.

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