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2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

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2. Beloved—by the Father, and therefore by me.

now—in contrast to "not yet." We now already are really sons, though not recognized as such by the world, and (as the consequence) we look for the visible manifestation of our sonship, which not yet has taken place.

doth not yet appearGreek, "it hath not yet ('at any time,' Greek aorist) been visibly manifested what we shall be"—what further glory we shall attain by virtue of this our sonship. The "what" suggests a something inconceivably glorious.

but—omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Its insertion in English Version gives a wrong antithesis. It is not, "We do not yet know manifestly what … but we know," &c. Believers have some degree of the manifestation already, though the world has not. The connection is, The manifestation to the world of what we shall be, has not yet taken place; we know (in general; as a matter of well-assured knowledge; so the Greek) that when (literally, "if"; expressing no doubt as to the fact, but only as to the time; also implying the coming preliminary fact, on which the consequence follows, Mal 1:6; Joh 14:3) He (not "it," namely, that which is not yet manifested [Alford]) shall be manifested (1Jo 3:5; 2:28), we shall be like Him (Christ; all sons have a substantial resemblance to their father, and Christ, whom we shall be like, is "the express image of the Father's person," so that in resembling Christ, we shall resemble the Father). We wait for the manifestation (literally, the "apocalypse"; the same term as is applied to Christ's own manifestation) of the sons of God. After our natural birth, the new birth into the life of grace is needed, which is to be followed by the new birth into the life of glory; the two latter alike are termed "the regeneration" (Mt 19:28). The resurrection of our bodies is a kind of coming out of the womb of the earth, and being born into another life. Our first temptation was that we should be like God in knowledge, and by that we fell; but being raised by Christ, we become truly like Him, by knowing Him as we are known, and by seeing Him as He is [Pearson, Exposition of the Creed]. As the first immortality which Adam lost was to be able not to die, so the last shall be not to be able to die. As man's first free choice or will was to be able not to sin, so our last shall be not to be able to sin [Augustine, The City of God, 22.30]. The devil fell by aspiring to God's power; man, by aspiring to his knowledge; but aspiring after God's goodness, we shall ever grow in His likeness. The transition from God the Father to "He," "Him," referring to Christ (who alone is ever said in Scripture to be manifested; not the Father, Joh 1:18), implies the entire unity of the Father and the Son.

for, &c.—Continual beholding generates likeness (2Co 3:18); as the face of the moon being always turned towards the sun, reflects its light and glory.

see him—not in His innermost Godhead, but as manifested in Christ. None but the pure can see the infinitely Pure One. In all these passages the Greek is the same verb opsomai; not denoting the action of seeing, but the state of him to whose eye or mind the object is presented; hence the Greek verb is always in the middle or reflexive voice, to perceive and inwardly appreciate [Tittmann]. Our spiritual bodies will appreciate and recognize spiritual beings hereafter, as our natural bodies now do natural objects.