Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 13

To see God and to know God

1 Corinthians 13:12

Paul separates time into two great periods: the present age, and the future age.

In the present age, Godís people are not perfect, and their relationship with God is not yet complete. They desire to know God and to see him. Paul expressed that desire again in Philippians 3:8-11.

Of course, God has already done many wonderful things in the lives of his people (6:11). He has saved them and he has changed their lives completely (2 Corinthians 5:17). He has given his Holy Spirit to them. By his Spirit, they know about the future plans that God has for them (2:9-12).

So Christians know that, in the future age, they really will see Godís face (Revelation 22:4). It is interesting to compare that verse with Exodus 33:18-23. God did not allow even such a holy man as Moses to see his (Godís) face. However, in the future age, Godís people will see his face. Nothing will separate them from God.

In the present age, God must teach his people. In the future age, their knowledge will be complete (Hebrews 8:10-11). God already knows and understands them completely. In the future, he will allow them to have complete knowledge of him.

Paul compares the present state of Christians to someone who looks at a mirror. Formerly, mirrors were much poorer than they are today. They were only pieces of metal that someone had polished well. You could see something in them, but the image was not clear. So Christians know and understand some things now. But it is only in the future age that their knowledge of God will be perfect.

Next part: Faith, hope, love (1 Corinthians 13:13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.