What’s the difference between the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory?
Jesus announced the arrival of the kingdom of grace at the beginning of His ministry, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). By His death on Calvary, Jesus opened the doors to this kingdom. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).
Jesus also told us how to enter the kingdom of grace: “Repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). It is by the grace of God that we are “granted repentance” (Acts 5:31; 11:18) and given “a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3) so we enter His kingdom. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
When Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), He was referring to the establishment of the principles of God’s kingdom in our hearts. This is accomplished by the gift of the Holy Spirit when we enter the kingdom of grace. “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
We must enter the kingdom of grace now if we are to be a part of the kingdom of glory in the future. The kingdom of grace is a spiritual kingdom that we can enter now. The kingdom of glory is its physical counterpart that will begin at the second coming of Christ. This is when He will grant the redeemed eternal life (Revelation 22:12). After God destroys sin and death, He will create a new earth (Isaiah 65:17). The New Jerusalem will be established and God will dwell with His people (Revelation 21:3). That will be the final phase in the establishment of the kingdom of glory.
We enter the kingdom of grace by faith. At the second coming we will enter the kingdom of glory by sight. When we enter the kingdom of grace we are spiritually “born again” (John 3:3). At Jesus’ return we’ll be born once again “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52) and receive immortal bodies. In the kingdom of glory we willll receive things that we’ve hoped for in the kingdom of grace. Until that day, we can “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 2:11-15; Romans 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 21-22