on 1-john 3 :2
Now are we the sons of God - He speaks of those who are begotten of God, and who work righteousness. See the preceding chapter.
And it doth not yet appear what we shall be - Ουπω εφανερωθη· It is not yet manifest; though we know that we are the children of God, we do not know that state of glorious excellence to which, as such, we shall be raised.
When he shall appear - Εαν φανερωθη· When he shall be manifested; i.e., when he comes the second time, and shall be manifested in his glorified human nature to judge the world.
We shall be like him - For our vile bodies shall be made like unto his glorious body; we shall see him as he is, in all the glory and majesty both of the Divine and human nature. See Philippians 3:21; and John 17:24 : Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. John had seen his glory on the mount when he was transfigured; and this we find was ineffably grand; but even this must have been partially obscured, in order to enable the disciples to bear the sight, for they were not then like him. But when they shall be like him, they shall see him as he is - in all the splendor of his infinite majesty.
on 1-john 3 :2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God - We now in fact sustain this rank and dignity, and on that we may reflect with pleasure and gratitude. It is in itself an exalted honor, and may be contemplated as such, whatever may be true in regard to what is to come. In the dignity and the privileges which we now enjoy, we may find a grateful subject of reflection, and a cause of thankfulness, even if we should look to nothing beyond, or when we contemplate the fact by itself.
And it doth not yet appear what we shall be - It is not fully revealed what we shall be hereafter; what will be the full result of being regarded as the children of God. There are, indeed, certain things which may be inferred as following from this. There is enough to animate us with hope, and to sustain us in the trials of life. There is one thing which is clear, that we shall be like the Son of God; but what is fully involved in this is not made known. Perhaps,
(1) it could not be so revealed that we could understand it, for that state may be so unlike the present that no words would fully convey the conception to our minds. Perhaps,
(2) it may be necessary to our condition here, as on probation, that no more light should be furnished in regard to the future than to stimulate us to make efforts to reach a world where all is light. For an illustration of the sentiment expressed here by the apostle, compare the notes at 2 Peter 1:4.
But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him - It is revealed to us that we shall be made like Christ; that is, in the bodies with which we shall be raised up, in character, in happiness, in glory. Compare the Philippians 3:21 note; 2 Corinthians 3:18 note. This is enough to satisfy the Christian in his prospects for the future world. To be like Christ is the object of his supreme aim. For that he lives, and all his aspirations in regard to the coming world may be summed up in this - that he wishes to be like the glorified Son of God, and to share his honors and his joys. See the notes at Philippians 3:10.
For we shall see him as he is - It is clearly implied here that there will be an influence in beholding the Saviour as he is, which will tend to make us like him, or to transform us into his likeness. See the nature of this influence explained in the notes at 2 Corinthians 3:18.
on 1-john 3 :2
3:2 It doth not yet appear - Even to ourselves. What we shall be - It is something ineffable, which will raise the children of God to be, in a manner, as God himself. But we know, in general, that when he, the Son of God, shall appear, we shall be like him - The glory of God penetrating our inmost substance. For we shall see him as he is - Manifestly, without a veil. And that sight will transform us into the same likeness.