What wonderful words these are: grace and glory!
Each is magnificent on its own, yet together
they amount to the very pinnacle of God’s
sovereign provision for us, his people, in the
gospel. Individually they appear constantly
throughout Scripture; side by side they are to
be found in Psalm 84:11. ‘For the LORD God is a
sun and shield; the LORD bestows grace and
glory. No good thing does he withhold from those
who walk uprightly’.
It is appropriate, for this first pastoral
letter of a new year, to meditate upon this
divine pairing, grace and glory. Between them,
these two words (with all that they stand for
and all that they contain) sum up the whole of
Christian experience. Years ago I remember
taking them as a text at the funeral of a
Christian, and remarking that the Lord, having
first given her grace, had now given her glory.
Our entire life on earth, to be followed by our
entire life in heaven, is gathered up in these
The first word may be rendered ‘grace’ or
‘favour’. The second word may be rendered
‘glory’ or ‘honour’. Matthew Henry, as always,
has a delightful way of expressing things. He
writes, the first word indicates ‘both the
goodwill of God towards us and the good work of
God in us’; while the second word indicates ‘the
honour which he now puts upon us in giving us
the adoption of sons, and that he has prepared
for us in the future in the inheritance of
Now put them together. An old couplet goes like
this: ‘Two golden links of one celestial chain,
Who owneth grace will surely glory gain’. C H
Spurgeon remarks, characteristically, that ‘the
little conjunction ‘and’ is a diamond rivet
binding the present with the future: grace and
glory always go together. God has married them,
and none can divorce them’.
What is grace? The favour of God to his people.
What is it? Glory begun below.
What is glory? The honour God bestows upon his
What is it? ‘Grace in its Sabbath dress, grace
in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow
and perfected’ (CHS again).
Grace in this world is a preparation for glory
in the next – and there can be no glory in the
next without grace in this. No grace, no glory.
Glory in the next world is the perfection (or
consummation) of grace in this. Glory is, if you
like, the fullness of grace. Unconditional
election (grace) and final perseverance (glory)
are here, all-in-one! Let it be firmly believed
and richly experienced among us that there are
none upon whom God bestows his saving,
comforting, preserving, sanctifying, fructifying
grace upon whom he will not also bestow his
glory. Putting that same thing the other way
round: the Lord God will never deny glory even
to just one of his people upon whom he has
freely bestowed his grace.
This is good news, don’t you agree? The very
news to commence the new year on, and the very
news to continue the year on. We have received
grace. We are promised more grace, continual and
all-sufficient supplies of grace. And glory is
secured for us. All this is from God, in and
through his beloved Son, our Saviour, the Lord
Jesus Christ. ‘The men of grace have found glory
begun below; Celestial fruit on earthly ground
from faith and hope may grow … Then let our
songs abound, and every tear be dry; We’re
marching through Immanuel’s ground to fairer
worlds on high’.