As if the apostle had said, "Although the world knows us not, affects us not, esteems us not, because of the weakness of our grace and the strength of our corruptions, yet notwithstanding both these, we are now the sons of God; this is the happiness of our present condition, we are as children in their minority; we are not grown up for the inheritance, but we are growing; we are not what we would be, we are not what we should be; we are not what we shall be; but blessed be God we are what we are; now are we the sons of God."
Observe, 2. As the honour and dignity of the Christian's privilege in this life asserted, we are now the sons of God, so their happiness and glory in the next life described,
1. By way of negation. It doth not yet appear what they shall be; the glory which God has prepared for all his adopted children and people, is an hidden glory, a glory that doth not yet appear; what the saints shall be in their perfect state of glory doth not yet appear to them in this their imperfect state of grace.
2. By way of positive asseveration, But we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Here note, 1. The certainty of Christ's appearance declared, He shall appear.
2. A double benefit which believers may expect at his appearing.
1. They shall be like him, as well in holiness as in happiness, as well in purity as in immortality; like him in a perfect freedom from sin, like him in the ardour and intense fervency of their love; like him in the perfection of grace, and the unspotted purity of his holy nature.
2. They shall see him: That is, his glory, with a clear and immediate sight, with a full and comprehensive sight, with an assimilating and transforming sight, with an appropriating and possessive sight, with a satisfying and everlasting sight.