Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


1 John 3:2

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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 Philemon 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 Philemon 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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Little does the world know of the happiness of the real followers of Christ. Little does the world think that these poor, humble, despised ones, are favourites of God, and will dwell in heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content with hard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, where their Lord was so badly treated before them. The sons of God must walk by faith, and live by hope. They may well wait in faith, hope, and earnest desire, for the revelation of the Lord Jesus. The sons of God will be known, and be made manifest by likeness to their Head. They shall be transformed into the same image, by their view of him.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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 Philemon 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.

Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 365

You can be of great service in the office, for you can fill a place of importance if you will become transformed; but as you now are you will certainly fail of doing what you might do. I have been shown that you are rough and coarse in your feelings. These need to be softened, refined, elevated. In all your course of action you should discipline yourself to habits of self-control. With the spirit you now possess you can never enter heaven. 4T 365.1

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Can any human dignity equal this? What higher position can we occupy than to be called the sons of the infinite God? You would be ready to do some great thing for the Master; but the very things which would please Him most, you do not do. Will you not be faithful in overcoming self, that you may have the peace of Christ and an indwelling Saviour? 4T 365.2

Your afflicted son needs to be dealt with calmly and tenderly; he needs your compassion. He should not be exposed to your insane temper and unreasonable demands. You must reform in respect to the spirit you manifest. Ungovernable passion will not be subdued in a moment; but your lifework is before you to rid the garden of the heart of the poisonous weeds of impatience, faultfinding, and an overbearing disposition. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts; but the brutish part of your nature takes the lines of control and guides the spiritual. This is God's order reversed. 4T 365.3

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Ellen G. White
Temperance, 212

The Attractions of the Christian Life—We want to do all in our power to win souls by presenting the attractions of the Christian life. Our God is a lover of the beautiful. He might have clothed the earth with brown and gray, and the trees with vestments of mourning instead of their foliage of living green; but He would have His children happy. Every leaf, every opening bud and blooming flower, is a token of His tender love; and we should aim to represent to others this wonderful love expressed in His created works. Te 212.1

God would have every household and every church exert a winning power to draw the children away from the seducing pleasures of the world, and from association with those whose influence would have a corrupting tendency. Study to win the youth to Jesus. Impress their minds with the mercy and goodness of God in permitting them, sinful though they are, to enjoy the advantages, the glory and honor, of being sons and daughters of the Most High. What a stupendous thought, what unheard-of condescension, what amazing love, that finite men may be allied to the Omnipotent! “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Can any worldly honor equal this? Te 212.2

Let us represent the Christian life as it really is; let us make the way cheerful, inviting, interesting. We can do this if we will. We may fill our own minds with vivid pictures of spiritual and eternal things, and in so doing help to make them a reality to other minds. Faith sees Jesus standing as our Mediator at the right hand of God. Faith beholds the mansions He has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Faith sees the robe and crown all prepared for the overcomer. Faith hears the songs of the redeemed, and brings eternal glories near. We must come close to Jesus in loving obedience, if we would see the King in His beauty.—The Review and Herald, January 29, 1884. Te 212.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 285

“If any man's work abide, ... he shall receive a reward.” 1 Corinthians 3:14. Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers gather about the throne of God and of the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when the children of God shall have put on immortality, they will “see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2. They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ in His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of God, there to praise God through all eternity. 9T 285.1

My brother, my sister, I urge you to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Day by day cast the love of the world out of your hearts. Understand by experience what it means to have fellowship with Christ. Prepare for the judgment, that when Christ shall come, to be admired in all them that believe, you may be among those who will meet Him in peace. In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and His trophies of victory—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain. 9T 285.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 61

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2. TMK 61.1

Jesus, the world's Redeemer, knows all His children by name, and on those who believe shall come the glory of God.... Those who behold Jesus become changed to His image, become assimilated to His nature, and the glory of God that shines in the face of Jesus, is reflected in the lives of His followers. More and more the Christian is changed from glory to glory.... The more he looks on Christ, the more he loves and longs to look again, and the more light and love and glory he sees in Christ, the more his light increases.... TMK 61.2

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