The Perfection of Our Future Knowledge
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.


1. It will be distinct and clear; no longer confused and obscure as it now is while we look through a glass.

2. It will be certain and satisfying; no longer conjectural and enigmatical as it now is while we look through a glass darkly.

3. It will be perfect and complete in its kind; and no longer defective as it now is whilst we know but in part, for we shall then know even as we are known.


1. The most glorious and felicitating object of our thus improved and enlightened understanding will be the ever-blessed God Himself. It is true the great and blessed God, as a pure and perfect Spirit, can never be seen with bodily eyes. But we must not think that the soul is capable of no distinct and clear perceptions but what it receives by means of bodily organs. It has even now a power of realising and ascertaining, of contemplating and enjoying things that are not seen. And when our mental powers shall be unconfined, enlarged, and improved, as we are sure they will be in heaven (and we know not but there may be new faculties superadded, suitable to the new objects of contemplation), we shall then as distinctly and clearly discern and contemplate spiritual and invisible objects, as we now do material ones by an eye of sense.

2. Then shall we begin to know ourselves. For whatever it may be thought, man is as yet one of the greatest mysteries to himself; that is a subject about which he knows as little as almost anything which falls within the compass of his understanding. Then he will begin to think as an immortal creature ought to do, which he very rarely does now, whilst his mind is sensualised, his understanding cramped, his sentiments debased, and his heart captivated by low and earthly things. Then will he look up to his original with perpetual adoration and joy, and live up to the dignity of an intelligent and immortal being, made for the honour of his great Creator, in whose praise and service all his powers will be for ever delightfully employed.

3. Our sense of religious and Divine things will then be strong, comprehensive, and clear. Then only shall we begin to be infallible, and perhaps be ashamed of our former ignorance when we thought ourselves most so. Then shall we discern the wrong paths in which we trod, as plainly as a benighted traveller at the rising of the morning sun, and be able, it may be, to trace our errors up to their original, the first wrong impression we received which insensibly turned us aside from the path of truth, which we were never able afterwards to recover, whilst at the same time we shall adore the guard and guidance of Divine grace which preserved our feeble and fickle minds from imbibing errors of a more dangerous and pernicious tendency.

4. Glorious and surprising then will be the new discoveries we shall make in the works of God. The hidden mysteries of nature which now lie too deep for our ken, and baffle all our most exquisite and laborious research, will then lie open to our view, and we shall have an intuitive knowledge of what it now costs us the study of an age to attain an imperfect notice of.

5. What a sweet and sublime entertainment will the enlarged mind enjoy in contemplating the wise and wondrous ways of Providence!


1. Because we are sure that in heaven there will be nothing wanting to perfect the happiness of a glorified spirit.

2. Its powers, capacities, and desires will be then inconceivably enlarged and opened, and consequently the objects and extent of its knowledge must be proportionably increased.Conclusion:

1. Let us remember that all the natural powers and faculties of the mind will then be in their full strength and maturity.

2. Our sphere of knowledge will then be vastly enlarged.

3. The enlarged powers of our mind will then be free from all their present encumbrances.

4. We shall have no wrong prejudices and prepossessions to overcome or guard against, by which our free progress in true knowledge is now so much obstructed.

5. We shall then meet with no more avocations to divert us from the pursuit of knowledge.

6. This speedy progress in knowledge we shall make, not only a few years, but to all eternity.

(J. Mason, M.A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

WEB: For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.

The Now and Then of Life
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