“For Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; Then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; Then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12)
I want you to especially see the words that I emboldened and underlined here in I Corinthians 13:12. Few persons looked into eternity and saw things clearer than the Apostle Paul. Notice that twice he uses the contrasting words “Now” & “Then.” They are as poles apart as day and night, present and future, as partial and total, earth and heaven.
What you and I as Christians are experiencing right Now in our physical state is like a poor reflection in a mirror compared to what we shall experience “Then,” in our spiritual glorified state in the future. Now, in our earthly state things are fair-to-middling but Then in our supernatural glorified state it will be the awesomest of the awesomest.
According to I John 3:1 we are NOW “sons of God,” but the problem is that we now live in sinful bodies that get sick and old and deformed and die and return to the dust from whence they came. But the best is yet to be. When Christ returns for his own Then the most amazing miracle next to creation and Christ’s resurrection will happen. I John 3:2-b goes on and says, “What we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him ….”
Our Text I Corinthians 13:12 says, “For Now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; Then we shall see face to face…”
The Message Translation puts it this way
“We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”
Now, at the first resurrection when Christ transforms our vile bodies into glorious resurrection bodies like his own “in a moment, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” Then we shall see him face to face. That means that no longer shall we see him vaguely as though through a dark glass, as we do so Now. What a glorious unforgettable day that shall be when we behold him face to face as the apostle John did in Revelation 1:12-18.
Now we know Him in part Then we shall know Him as directly as He knows us.
The contrast between Now and Then is so vast that we see it only dimly now; but we do see it.
As Paul said in Romans 8: 24, 18, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?”
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
We’ll catch the broken thread again,
And finish what we here began;
Heaven will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah, then, we’ll understand. —Cornelius
Pastor Robert Bryant