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Now and Then

In this tumultuous political climate, the believer in Jesus must continually remind himself of what is conveyed in the chorus: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through, My treasure is laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” The apostle Paul lived with this awareness nearly two thousand years ago. He wrote:

“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 Corinthians 13:12). 

Paul lived with the assurance he would one day see Jesus face to face. Blessed is the man who lives his life knowing that one day his FAITH (now) will become SIGHT (then). “Darkly” is the translation of the Greek word from which we get our Eng. “enigma.”  It means “in an obscure way.” The “glass” (mirror) is a reference to scripture. 

What a man can know about God now pales in comparison to what God knows about him. But in that face to face, a believer will have as crystal clear a knowledge of Jesus THEN as Jesus has of him NOW. 

The phrase “in part” means “a constituent part of the whole, an allotment, installment.” What God teaches us about himself NOW through the study of scripture is sort of an installment plan, a layaway plan, a part here, a part there, in anticipation of a full disclosure THEN. The day is coming for the believer when there’ll be no more enigma, no more obscurity, no more limitations to his knowledge of God. 

Jesus told the religious elites: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The pathway to knowing the LIVING Word is searching the WRITTEN Word. But in our human flesh, the most enlightened believer, the most insightful interpreter, must confess he has but bits and pieces of the whole, that there’s far more to be learned THEN than we can possibly know NOW. 

While we live in the nasty ‘now and now’, be assured there’s a glorious ‘by and by’ for us believers, a knowledge explosion that will make the trials of this life MORE than worth the trials!


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