Psalm 84:11 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 can we expect, as individuals and as members of churches, when God gives us grace and glory?
First of all: let’s define the terms. Grace is often called God’s riches at Christ’s expense. It is when God gives us good things that we don’t deserve. It contrasts to his mercy, which is His withholding from us the bad things we do deserve. The Oxford dictionary’s definition of grace include elegance of movement, polite good will, attractive qualities of behavior and finally, in Christian belief, the unearned favor of God.
Glory is both a noun and a verb. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical words it has several meaning as a noun. They include the nature and acts of God as he manifests himself, especially in the person and acts of Christ; the character and ways of God as exhibited through Christ to and through believers; a state of blessedness believers will enter into; and brightness and splendor emanating from God. The Oxford dictionary defines the word as fame or honor won by notable achievements; magnificence, great beat; a very beautiful or impressive thing and worship and thanksgiving offered to God.
As a verb, to glory means to boast. So in order to fully enjoy His grace and glory, we as individuals, and as a church, might want to do several things. We may admit that the good things we have, come to us from God’s hands. They are his gifts, not something we have earned by our own efforts.
We can partake of his grace in another way, letting God more fully mold our characters into his likeness. This will allow him to use us to draw others closer to Him. Being molded more closely into the character of Jesus does not necessarily mean we will have an ‘easy’ time. It is a day to day process, that is sometimes painful. It is a process, however, that is always for our benefit.
Jesus walked on earth, showing us both God’s grace and glory. He showed both when he turned the water into wine at a wedding in Canaan. He did this act, even though he told his mother his time had not yet come (John chapter 2). He showed us grace and glory in his power to heal, in his love of spending time with his Father, in his interactions with the people and religious leaders of his day. Even in his angry moments, when he was cleansing the temple area from the presence of the greed of the money changers, he was displaying God’s grace and glory. That area of the temple was the only area in which gentiles could pray. Could you imagine wanting to pray and having a mall at Christmas time the only available, appropriate place? Could you hear God through all the noise and confusion? God does speak any and every where, but Jesus wanted people to have a more peaceful place to pray!
Jesus was portraying God’s grace and glory to the people of his day. Scriptures tell us that he was the full manifestation of God in bodily form (Col. 2:9). Yet, scripture also describes Jesus in a totally different way. It says “He had no form or comeliness, and when people shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).
As his ministry began, the people of Nazareth were amazed, saying, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” (Luke 4:22). He looked just like an ordinary man. the people (and yes, even the religious people) missed seeing God’s glory.
When God’s grace and glory comes to us, what will it look like? Will it be such a heavy presence of God, that no one can remain standing in the church (See reference in 2 Chronicles, chapter 7). Or will it seem so ordinary, that unless our spirits ar in tune with what God is doing, we will miss it? It may even comes in both ways . . .
As Jesus showed God’s grace and glory to the people of his day, he wants to use us to show his grace and glory to our family, neighbors, co-workers and the world. May we all hear his voice, follow his lead, and let God’s grace and glory shine from our lives.
Note: This is a slight re-working of an article I wrote for a publication for a church I am connected with. The original article was published in January of 2011.