2 Peter 3:13
But in keeping with God's promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
Sermons
The Abode of RighteousnessJ.R. Thomson 2 Peter 3:13
Destiny and DutyU.R. Thomas 2 Peter 3:10-13
Advancing the Second AdventJ. Vaughan, M. A.2 Peter 3:11-18
Desire for the Day of GodW. C. Wilson, M. A.2 Peter 3:11-18
Disturbances in Nature an Argument for Holy LivingG. B. Spalding, LL. D.2 Peter 3:11-18
Duty in View of Second ComingR. Finlayson 2 Peter 3:11-18
Immortality and ScienceT. T. Munger, D. D.2 Peter 3:11-18
The Day of GodCanon Liddon.2 Peter 3:11-18
The Day of GodSketches of Four Hundred Sermons2 Peter 3:11-18
The Dissolution of the WorldD. Malcolm, LL. D.2 Peter 3:11-18
The End of All ThingsH. Melvill, B. D.2 Peter 3:11-18
The Influence of Belief in Tire Coming of the Day of GodCanon Liddon.2 Peter 3:11-18
Things and Persons, Here and HereafterH. Batchelor.2 Peter 3:11-18
What Manner of Persons Christian Professors Ought to BeH. Foster, M. A.2 Peter 3:11-18
A New Heaven and a New EarthRichard Roberts.2 Peter 3:13-14
Be DiligentA. Maclaren, D. D.2 Peter 3:13-14
Christian DiligenceJames Bromley.2 Peter 3:13-14
Christian Diligence, with its Motives and EndSketches of Four Hundred Sermons2 Peter 3:13-14
Man's External Universe as Assuming a Real FormD. Thomas, D. D.2 Peter 3:13-14
New Heavens and New EarthE. Griffins, D. D.2 Peter 3:13-14
New Heavens and New EarthT. Chalmers, D. D.2 Peter 3:13-14
Peace with GodB. Beddome, M. A.2 Peter 3:13-14
The Final HeavenR. W. Hamilton, D. D.2 Peter 3:13-14
The New CreationT. F. Lockyer, B. A.2 Peter 3:13-14
The Qualities of the New EarthW. Thorburn.2 Peter 3:13-14
Wonders in Man's Future HistoryF. F. Thomas.2 Peter 3:13-14
If the catastrophe which the apostle describes in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth verses stood alone, it might well fill the mind of the believing reader with foreboding and with awe, and paralyze all his energies. But the inspired writer looks beyond the scenes of dissolution and destruction to the fair and beautiful visions which become clear to the eye of faith when enlightened with a heavenly ray.

I. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPECTATIONS. Science sometimes foretells with some definiteness the future of the material universe, that is, so far as dissolution is concerned. According to a universal law of rhythm - so we are told - this earth shall be dissipated into atoms. But little is said upon scientific grounds of any process of reconstruction. Now, it is admitted that Scripture goes into no details with regard to the future. But, at the same time, whilst admitting the perishableness of all created things, revelation passes beyond the epoch of destruction, and assures us that what seems the end is not the end of all things. The old will certainly decay, but only to give place to the new. How this reconstitution is to be effected, we know not; yet that it shall be brought to pass is assured in the promise of "new heavens and a new earth."

II. THE MORAL CHARACTER OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPECTATION, If there is vagueness as to what is material, nothing could be more explicit than so much of the revelation as relates to the spiritual. It matters very little what are the visible and tangible accompaniments of a future state, if only its ethical character be satisfactorily determined. And this is done in the language, "wherein dwelleth righteousness." In such a revelation as this the judgment and conscience can peacefully rest. The contrast between the prevalence of unrighteousness on this earth, and the reign of righteousness in the reconstructed world, is striking in itself, and it furnishes a true satisfaction to the mind which by reason alone cannot confidently anticipate a change so blessed.

III. THE DIVINE BASIS OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPECTATION. This is no surmise of sagacity; it is no poetic dream. Our anticipation is "according to God's promise." Here is the all-sufficient justification. Building upon the assurances of him who cannot lie, we secure a firm foundation for our faith and hope. We know that what he has promised he is able to perform. In the region in question all created might is powerless; if the result is to be brought to pass, it must be by the exercise of omnipotence itself.

IV. THE PREPARATION FOR THE FULFILMENT or THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPECTATION. If we "look for" such a glorious future as these words suggest, our attitude must be other than mere hope. We shall cherish fortitude amidst ills that must soon pass away; we shall cultivate that habit of righteousness which shall be congenial to the state which we anticipate; and we shall seek that harmony with the Divine will that shall make us truly and for ever at home in every world of God. - J.R.T.







Look for new heavens and a new earth.
A question here arises whether the new heavens and new earth will be created out of the-ruins of the old. The idea of the annihilation of so many immense and glorious bodies, organised with inimitable skill, is gloomy and forbidding. It ought not to be believed without the most decisive proof. On the other hand, it is a most animated thought that this visible creation which sin has marred will be restored by our Jesus.

1. The words which are employed to express the destruction of the world do net necessarily imply annihilation. The figures taken from the wearing out of a garment and from the vanishing of smoke do neither of them import the destruction of substance. For the substance of a garment when it moulders away, and of smoke when it vanishes, is not annihilated; only the form is changed. Is it said that the world shall perish? The same word is used to express the ancient destruction of the world by the flood. Is it said that the world shall have an end and be no more? This may be understood only of the present organisation of the visible system. The natural power of fire is not to annihilate, but only to dissolve the composition and change the form of substances.

2. Our text and several similar passages compel me to believe that new material heavens and a new material earth will be raised up to supply the place of those which the conflagration shall have destroyed. This being allowed, it seems more natural to suppose that the old materials will be employed than that they will be annihilated and new ones created in their stead. We know that the glorified bodies of the saints will be formed of materials which now exist on the earth, and that even the glorious body of Christ is formed of no other.

3. The new heavens and new earth seem eminently represented as a part of the vast plan of restoration which Christ undertook to accomplish. But it is not the part of Christ in this work to create out of nothing, but only to renew.

4. The time of Christ's advent to judgment is called "the times of restitution of all things."

5. But the passage on which the advocates for renovation chiefly rely remains yet to be produced (Romans 8.). If, then, by "the creature" is meant "every creature" or "the whole creation," how is the whole creation to "be delivered," in the resurrection, "from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God?" Not by annihilation, but by a glorious renovation. But why, if the heavenly bodies are to be continued in existence, should they be dissolved by fire, since they are not, as far as we know, defiled, as our earth is, by sin? One end of their dissolution may be that by a different composition of their materials they may be rendered more pure and glorious. Another end may be to make a memorable display of God's abhorrence of everything which has had the most distant connection with sin. They have ministered to apostate man and lighted him in his course of rebellion. Lift up your heads, ye people of God, and sing, for your redemption draweth nigh. What though you are poor in this world, the new heavens and new earth will be all your own. Ye who must now walk on the earth lame and halt, while the world rattle by you in their splendid equipages, shall shortly make easy excursions from star to star, and from world to world.

(E. Griffins, D. D.)

I. REFLECT ON THE GREAT CREATION AND THE PURPOSE OF GOD IN MAKING THE INFINITY OF WORLDS. That there is no adequate purpose it would be absurd, indeed almost blasphemous, to suppose. The tornado may work blindly as it tears down the forest trees in its fury; but how unworthy would be such blind, aimless work on the part of the Infinite God! A giant may put forth his portentous strength in mere vain display; but could God exert such stupendous energy in order that some fraction of its wonder might dazzle the few beholders in one world? Surely a devout faith, as well as a reasoning intelligence, must conclude that the purpose which alone explains the creation and arrangement of our earth is that it should be the home of life, and of beings able to apprehend God's will, is the actuating purpose of all the rest of the creation.

II. BUT IN THIS WORLD, AT LEAST, THERE HAS BEEN FAILURE. In man's inmost nature there has been a collapse. High faith and loyalty, integrity and pureness, persistent endeavour for the right — all this has broken down, and man's moral and spiritual nature is in ruins. But into the midst of the ruin of human hope there has come the all-renewing power of a great redemption.

III. HOW BOUNDLESS IS THE PROSPECT OPENED OUT TO MAN BY THIS NEW HOPE! What infinite possibility and promise of the development and application of human faculty! what a future for the researches of science and the plastic skill of art! and what sacred joy in the perfected and permanent relationships of human society!

IV. OUR ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO THE REGNANT PRINCIPLE OF THE NEW UNIVERSE. Where vice reigns all is hell; where vice and virtue are in conflict life is mingled joy and pain; but where triumphant righteousness makes its abiding home there must be health without any lurking incipiency of sickness, joy without threat of grief, love without peril of parting, and life without possibility of death. "Wherein dwelleth righteousness" — as the very coherence of the texture of the new world, and the pervasive and penetrating energy of the new life. And for this ultimate triumph of righteousness God is our guarantee.

(T. F. Lockyer, B. A.)

I. THE EVENTS LOOKED FOR.

1. First, the destruction of the world that now is. Not only the heavens, but "the elements." Light, heat, air, moisture — all these are to come under the action of the final fire. Then "the earth," where God planted Eden of old, and whose virgin soil was trodden by sinless humanity; earth, where are Bethlehem, Gethsemane, and Calvary, with all their holy memories of suffering and of rejoicing and of triumph. Then not only earth, but the things that are on the earth; all that human art and human labour and human skill may have added to the earth or reconstructed out of material things. Then the means — fire. Fire is the mightiest force with which we are acquainted in the material world. Science has taught us that no material has been found as yet which fire cannot melt. And fire is not only the mightiest force, but it is the most universally diffused. We find it everywhere — in the vegetable, in the animal, and in the mineral. There is fire in the tree which grows, and hence the savage will take two sticks, and, rubbing them briskly together, he produces a spark and flame. Though there is much of moisture in the wood, nevertheless he can produce fire from it. There is fire in the very stone on which you tread. Hence the sparks that you see struck forth beneath the prancing steed, or sometimes occasioned by your own sharp footsteps. There is fire in the water. If there were not it would all be frozen. Fire enters into the constitution of our own body. There is heat in the skin and in the flesh, in the blood and in the bone, and in the sinew; and it causes life to kindle from the sole of the foot to the very crown of the head. This earth of ours was once a sea of molten lava. It is now cooled at the surface, and this constitutes the crust of the globe; but if you were only to dig down seven miles through that crust, you would still come upon the ocean of liquid lava. And God has only to let loose this treasure of fire from its secret place, and then it will rush with destructive fury from world to world and from system to system. No wall can be constructed as a barrier to check its progress. Then you will observe another thing — the manner. "Pass away with a great noise." The manifestations of God to man are sometimes calm and peaceful and assuring. At other times His manifestations are accompanied with things that awaken terror or create alarm. So it was in connection with Sinai. Then this great crisis is designated the day of the Lord — the day of the Lord Jesus. Why is it designated the day of Christ?(1) It will be the day of the Lord Jesus, because the transactions of the day will be all based upon the mediatorial work of Christ.(2) Because it will be the day for the vindication of Christ against all the falsehoods and the prejudices and the wrong judgments which men have entertained concerning Christ.(3) Then it is the day of the Lord as distinguished from man's day. It is your day now; and I say to young men it is your day now to do as you please — to rebel against God. But it will be the Lord's day when the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved.

2. Next, the reconstruction of a new earth out of the material of the old. The renewal of the earth and the heaven will be a something that will take place after the destruction of the old earth and the old heaven. Now we must bear in mind that in the material world nothing is annihilated. He will want all the gold to pave the highways of the New Jerusalem. He will want the diamonds and the precious stones to gem the battlements of the city of the saints. He will put them all into one seething cauldron and melt and purify and purge them, and make them fit material for the erection of the future home of the saints. "We look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. They shall inherit the earth, and the wicked shall not have a part in it at all. But is this old earth to be cursed for ever? No. Jesus Christ's work as Redeemer would not be complete. After He has saved man, He will have to effect the restitution of things as well as of men. He will have to extract the curse from the heart of the earth, and so silence the cry of a groaning creation. And let me say that this new heaven and new earth, in its purified form, will be far superior to our old home. What do we find here? Beasts of prey are prowling the deserts. In the new heavens and the new earth "no lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon." In the old earth venomous vipers and poisonous reptiles are crawling, and sometimes they inflict pain, and even death, upon our fellow-men. But in the new heavens and the new earth nothing that hurts and destroys shall ever be seen in all God's holy mountain. In this old earth what do I find? The air is laden with pestilence and desolation and death. But in the new heavens and the new earth the atmosphere shall be purged of all deleterious influences, and the inhabitants shall never say "I am sick." Here time lays its destroying hand upon the mightiest monuments that man has ever reared. But in the new heavens and new earth "neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and thieves do not break through and steal." Immortality is possessed by everything there. The inheritance is "incorruptible and undefiled, and it fadeth not away." In the new heavens and in the new earth there shall be no more sea, no element of destruction there. And then I look at the heavens above me, so magnificent on a bright starry night; but I cannot help being reminded of the alternations of heat and cold, of the insufferable heat of summer and the greater heat endured in other portions of the world than ours, and of the insufferable cold of winter. But in the new heavens and the new earth there will be no such alternations. There is no need of the sun or of the moon, but the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the light thereof. In this old earth the hearts of righteous ones are wounded and pierced to the very quick by the wickedness of those around them. But in the new heavens and in the new earth there "dwelleth righteousness." There will be no sorrow or suffering through the wickedness of men rebelling against the Lord most high.

II. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE WITH THESE THINGS BEFORE US? "Be diligent" — that is, "Do your best, that ye may be found of Him in peace." Oh! is it possible to be at peace when the world is in a blaze? Yes, thank God, it is possible to be at peace then. But how are we to be at peace under such conditions? "Found of Him without spot and blame less" — "without spot" inwardly; "blameless "outwardly. A pure heart and a pure life. There will be nothing to fear then. Suppose two men standing side by side at that day gazing upon the upheaving of all things. The one man has been a millionaire commanding his broad acres and his ample revenue, but has died without Christ. The other man has died in the poor-house, and gone to heaven by faith from his humble abode. The two stand side by side. Ah, which of the two would you prefer to be, then? The one loses all. The fire burns all he ever possessed. The other loses nothing. The flames cannot touch his possessions. He has a pure heart, a clear conscience, a spirit delivered from sin; and the fires cannot touch them.

(Richard Roberts.)

There was but one word between chaos and creation — there need be but one between the sustentation and the dissolution of the universal frame. And we are looking for these things! To this promise we hope to come! It is the goal of consummated bliss!

I. LET US ENDEAVOUR FROM THIS DESCRIPTION TO SUGGEST TO OUR MINDS THE TRUE NATURE OF THAT PERFECT FELICITY AND SATISFACTION WHICH ARE RESERVED FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD.

1. The scene we occupy was evidently intended for a great system of life. There is scarcely spot or element in which it may not be found. It is a great contrivance for all the forms and kinds of existence. It would be unmeaning, running to waste, but for this intention. Air, land, water are crowded with their several tribes. The happiness of every one is consulted, function and habitude agree most perfectly with the province and support provided for them, and none who survey and reason out the final causes of things can doubt the will of the great Master and Lord of all. Still he who was made the last of all earthly creatures is the greatest: to him they are all tributary and ministering, and God has given him dominion over them. Then, assuredly, when there shall be new heavens and a new earth, man, the capital figure of the present system, shall still be more prominently raised. He shall there need for help no inferior creatures. Their spirit has gone downward to that earth which is no more. But he is not alone. The ministering spirits which ministered to the heirs of salvation during this life shall be his companions amidst these fairer fields.

2. The world in which we dwell, with all its proper appendages of circumambient air and supernal light, is a material fabric. If, therefore, new heavens and a new earth shall be constituted, they must be material and related to space, or the figure does not hold. And everything concerning that abode would seem to confirm it. It has its entrances, its dimensions, its boundaries, that which can be "seen," that which may be "heard." The flesh of the risen saints is seen in those borders. The glorious body of the Eternal Son is the centre of all the beatific attractions and influences.

3. The visible works of God are the means by which intelligent creatures rise in their thoughts to Him and judge of Him. These are the monu ments of His existence and natural perfections. Heaven and earth but vary and multiply the perfect demonstration of a First Cause, His skill, His might, and His bounty. When we read, consequently, of "the new heavens and the new earth," we cannot fail to infer that they shall be impressed with the same designations. How shall the depths of those heavens, how shall the ever-spreading horizons of that earth, be "sought out" and interpreted for the praises of Him whose glorious majesty shines forth from their incomparable frame l

4. The community of the saints is now a most pleasing fact: they are one. A new heaven and a new earth shall now embrace their whole multitude. God hath prepared a habitation for them. They are all brought home.

5. While the present state of our sojourn abounds in multitudinous life, while it is chiefly administrative to the life of man, we cannot but be amazed at the contrivance and the fulness of those provisions which give general life, and peculiarly that of man, its greatest possible happiness and freest possible exercise. We, however, boast a life of higher functions and aims. To be spiritually-minded is life and peace. The spirit of life breathes it into our soul. Though the sky and earth cannot affect this new mode of being, this life of faith, yet the passions and concernments of the present do war perpetually with it. But "the new heavens and the new earth" shall as much favour the inward life, the life of the spirit, as these mundane conveniences and laws now sustain our inferior life.

6. If the future condition of happiness and glory which shall be prepared for the redeemed may be thus expressed, we may expect that, notwithstanding the difference between it and "this visible, diurnal sphere," there shall be certain points of resemblance. What are now the marks of our dwelling? Heavens — earth. How is our eternal abode described? New heavens — new earth. Is not there in the former an analogue to the latter? Is not the second the reflex of the first? Was there not a shadowing out of ideas which shall seem familiar to the saints in that glory? That which is inferior in appetite and instinct is done away. But is there no beauty in form and colour which the eye may behold? Are there no ravishing harmonies for the ear? Everything here may be but rudiment and cypher to be evolved and interpreted in far distant seats of the universe. By a graduated scale we may now rise through an ascending series of progressive changes until we reach the climax of all.

7. But this supposed parallelism, however unequal, between these different scenes of existence, comprehends an exercise of distinct and perfect memory. The "terrible crystal" of the new heavens, the fair paradise of the new earth, must recall the old.

8. The manner in which the present heavens and earth are supplanted by the new declares that a measure of happiness is ensured by the exchange which perfectly corresponds to the solemn revolution. Joy is the invariable fruit of a rightly appreciated Christianity.

9. Nothing more distinctly marks the evil of sin than the variance which is often supposed in Scripture between man and the scenes of his habitation. These are bid to rise up and declare against him. He is represented as alone "coming short of the glory of God." They are true to their purpose, while he has turned aside from the end for which he was created and endowed. Hence those awful apostrophes with which inanimate objects are invoked, as if even they could but condemn him. They are summoned, like so many witnesses and justices, to denounce his crimes. But "the new heavens and earth" shall environ nothing which can offend. They shall correspond with whatever they embrace. Their pure elements shall only encompass the pure.

10. Since heaven and earth combine all our ideas of the fair and grand, since these complete our present sphere of life and action, the continuance of such machinery in a future state must intimate to us the diversity of its good. Herein is every constituent of our pleasure, whether sensual or intellectual. From above or beneath we derive all our gratifications. There is endless variety.

11. We have no such images of permanence as those works of God concerning which we speak. "For ever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven." "They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure." "The earth abideth for ever." God suspends the proof of his faithfulness upon these ordinances, upon the covenant of day and night. Yet are we forewarned of their wreck. If, then, these monuments of whatever is durable are themselves to be destroyed, if the azure fade and the globe decay, how certainly may we regard in the new heavens and earth the voucher of a proper immortality! Their sun shall no more go down. Their refulgent tissues shall not decay. They are the perfect signals of a duration which admits no intervals and wants no monitors — which cannot be broken into ages nor counted out by stars!

12. The power of God to protect and bless is not infrequently rested upon His creative achievements. "My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." "The Lord that made heaven and earth, bless thee out of Zion." "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, which made heaven and earth." The mourner, the oppressed, the persecuted have sought unto Him who had done all these things — His aid and benediction they could not henceforth distrust nor slight. The meek of the earth were safe beneath the care of Him who made it. The new heavens and earth are fashioned by the same omnipotent artificer, the God of truth and of salvation, and in the same manner does He design that they should support the quietness and assurance of His people for ever! He who reared them shall be their God so long as they endure. They are the standard evidence and voucher of what He can and will work on their behalf.

II. LET US EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE ON WHICH THIS FIRM EXPECTATION RESTS. To Abraham a covenant was given in which were contained many promises of a more than earthly kind. He had the seal of righteousness by faith. From him was to descend a spiritual seed. We believe in the Lord, and He counteth it to us for righteousness! We take this ancient warrant, which no time can impair nor cancel — a warrant distinct, successive, cumulative — and "according to His promise we look for new heavens and a new earth in which dwelleth righteousness." Christianity, which brings life and incorruption to light, which is the promise of eternal life, exhibits the true and alone hope of this surpassing condition. We have everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. We depend upon the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. Promise is a form of Scriptural revelation and encouragement with which we are familiar. It is an infinite condescension in God thus to bind Himself, and to speak to His servants, "for a great while to come."

(R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)

1. We know historically that earth, that a solid, material earth, may form the dwelling of sinless creatures in full converse and friendship with the Being who made them. Man, at the first, had for his place this world, and at the same time, for his privilege, an unclouded fellowship with God, and for his prospect an immortality which death was neither to intercept nor put an end to. He was terrestrial in respect of condition, and yet celestial in respect both of character and enjoyment. This may serve to rectify an imagination, of which we think that all must be conscious — as if the grossness of materialism was only for those who had degenerated into the grossness of sin. Were our place of everlasting blessedness so purely spiritual as it is commonly imagined, then the soul of man, after, at death, having quitted his body, would quit it conclusively. That mass of materialism with which it is associated upon earth, and which many regard as an incumbrance, would have leave to putrefy in the grave, without being revisited by supernatural power, or raised again out of the inanimate dust into which it had resolved. There will, it is true, be a change of personal constitution between a good man before his death and a good man after his resurrection — not, however, that he will be set free from his body, but that he will be set free from the corrupt principle which is in his body — not that the materialism by which he is now surrounded will be done away, but that the taint of evil by which this materialism is now pervaded will be done away. And this will be his heaven, that he will serve God without a struggle and in a full gale of spiritual delight — because with the full concurrence of all the feelings and all the faculties of his regenerated nature. The great constitutional plague of his nature will no longer trouble him; and there will be the charm of a general affinity between the purity of his heart and the purity of the element he breathes in. But the highest homage that we know of to materialism is that which God manifest in the flesh has rendered to it. That He, the Divinity, should have wrapt His unfathomable essence in one of its coverings; that He should now be throned in universal supremacy, that substantial and embodied humanity should be thus exalted, does this look like the abolition of materialism, after the present system of it is destroyed; or does it not rather prove that, transplanted into another system, it will be preferred to celestial honours, and prolonged in immortality throughout all ages?

2. But though a paradise of sense, it will not be a paradise of sensuality. There will both be heavens and earth, it would appear, in the next great administration — and with this specialty to mark it from the present one, that it will be a heavens and an earth "wherein dwelleth righteousness." Were it the great characteristic of that spirituality which is to obtain in a future heaven, that it was a spirituality of essence then occupying and pervading the place from which materialism had been swept away, we could not, by any possible method, approximate the condition we are in at present to the condition we are to hold everlastingly. But when we are told that materialism is to be kept up, and that the spirituality of our future state lies not in the kind of substance which is to compose its framework, but in the character of those who people it — this puts, if not the fulness of heaven, at least a foretaste of heaven, within our reach. We have not to strain at a thing so impracticable as that of diluting the material economy which is without us — we have only to reform the moral economy that is within us. This will make plain to you how it is that it Could be said in the New Testament that the "kingdom of heaven was at hand" — and how, in that book, its place is marked out, not by locally pointing to any quarter, and saying, Lo here, or lo there, but by the simple affirmation that the kingdom of heaven is within you. And hence one great purpose of the incarnation of our Saviour. He came down amongst us in the full perfection of heaven's character, and has made us see that it is a character which may be embodied. We learn from Christ that the heavenly graces are all of them compatible with the wear of an earthly body and the circumstances of an earthly habitation. And had we only the character of heaven, we should not be long of feeling what that is which essentially makes the comfort of heaven. Let us but love the righteousness which He loves, and hate the iniquity which He hateth, and this, of itself, would so soften and attune the mechanism of our moral nature, that in all the movements of it there should be joy. Let the will of God be done here as it is done there, and not only will character and conduct be the same here as there, but they will also resemble each other in the style though not in the degree of their blessedness. And here we may remark that the only possible conveyance for this new principle into the heart is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(T. Chalmers, D. D.)

I. THAT THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH WILL EMERGE FROM THE RUINS OF THE PRESENT. This is far the most probable for the following reasons —

1. Our planet has already undergone changes somewhat analogous. Geology would give us to understand that this globe has passed through numerous changes.

2. The apparent indestructibility of matter.

3. The moral events that have transpired on this earth.

4. The context makes it evident. Lest the reader should fancy that the fire should entirely destroy this beautiful world, it was natural for St. Peter to intimate that a new heaven and a new earth would grow out of it.

II. THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH WILL BE THE ABODE OF "RIGHTEOUSNESS." "Wherein dwelleth righteousness," This is its moral glory, this it is that marks it off in glorious contrast from its present character. This world at present is like the house of the old leper, every part defiled. But "righteousness "will dwell in its future state.

1. It will dwell universally.

2. It will dwell supremely. Now, wherever found, it is in a servile state. Right is under the foot of might.

3. It will dwell exclusively. There will be nothing of an opposite character.

4. It will dwell permanently. Its regions will never be invaded, its authority will never be shaken, its glory will never be overshadowed by evil. This indwelling righteousness is its glory. The most bright and majestic objects of nature looked at through a corrupt heart are uninteresting. No one can see God's beauty in the external world who has not moral beauty within; no one can catch the sweet harmonies without who has not the moral harmonies within. The soul is the measure and mirror of man's universe.

III. THAT THE NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH ARE OBJECTS OF PROSPECTIVE INTERESTS TO THE GOOD. "We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth." This looking implies two things —

1. Sufficient evidence to believe that these new heavens and earth will appear. Looking means expecting — expecting implies reason.

2. A conviction that some advantages will accrue from the appearance. Looking implies desire — desire implies the desirable.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THIS EARTH IS PERISHING. All the productions of nature, all the works of art, all the arrangements of policy that regard it, perish; man, its lord and master, is short-lived and perishing.

II. THE NATURE OF THE EARTH WHICH IS TO SUCCEED THE PRESENT.

1. The earth beyond the grave is new; by which we are to understand that it is as perfect in its structure and as attractive in its appearance as if it had just come from the hands of its Creator. No inundations have deluged it; no torrents have disfigured it. No lapse of years impairs its beauty, or introduces among its objects anything like ruin.

2. In the earth beyond the grave "dwelleth righteousness"; by which we may understand that it is the habitation of the righteous, and the place where their work of righteousness is rewarded. Conclusion:

1. The illustration of the text shows the value of righteousness. Revolutions shake the thrones of princes; but righteousness is raised on everlasting foundations, and they who have taken their seat there cannot be moved.

2. The doctrine of the text enforces heavenly mindedness. Set thy affections on that world which is lasting as thyself, and which only is capable of yielding thee perfect bliss.

3. The doctrine of the text enforces trust in God. He whose word made and will unmake the world is the only stay for you.

4. The doctrine of the text should awaken devout gratitude to Christ.

(W. Thorburn.)

Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent
I. THAT THE WONDERS IN MAN'S FUTURE ARE TRANSCENDENTLY GREAT. "Such things."

II. THAT THESE WONDERS ARE ANTICIPATED BY SOME. "Ye look for such things."

1. They are expected for very good reasons.

(1)They are certain.

(2)We have an interest in them. These are good reasons.

2. They are expected with very different feelings. By some with indifference, by some with dread, by some with rapturous joy.

III. THAT THESE WONDERS DEMAND PERSONAL PREPAREDNESS. How shall I become prepared to meet them? The text suggests two things as an answer.

1. Reconciliation with God. "Found of him in peace."

2. Sanctification. "Without spot and blameless."

IV. THAT THESE WONDERS DEMAND CHRISTIAN EARNESTNESS. "Be diligent."

1. Think of the greatness of your work.

2. The brevity of your probationary period.

(F. F. Thomas.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
I. PERSONS ADDRESSED. "Wherefore, beloved," etc.

1. Beloved of God. That the people of God are beloved by Him, we infer from the titles by which He distinguishes them (Deuteronomy 33:12; Nehemiah 13:26; Daniel 9:23; Malachi 3:17; Romans 9:25).

2. Beloved of each other.

II. EVENTS ANTICIPATED. "Ye look for such things."

III. A CHARGE GIVEN. "Be diligent." Diligence is opposed to idleness, slothfulness, or inattention.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

I. THE CLEAR HOPE WHICH SHOULD FILL OUR FUTURE. "Seeing that ye look for such things." What things? Peter has been drawing a very vivid picture of the end, in two parts, one destructive, the other constructive. Opticians make glasses with three ranges, and write upon a little bar which shifts their eye-pieces, "Theatre," "Field," "Marine." Which of the three is your glass set to? The turn of a button determines its range. You can either look at the things close at hand, or, if you set the eye-piece right, and use the strongest, you can see the stars. Which is it to be? The shorter range shows you possibilities; the longer will show you certainties. The shorter range shows you trifles; the longer, all that you can desire. How many hopes we have outgrown, whether they were fulfilled or disappointed. But we may have one which will ever move before us, and ever draw our desires. The greater vision, if we were only wise enough to bring our lives habitually under its influence, would at once dim and ennoble all the near future.

II. THE DEFINITE AIM WHICH THIS CLEAR HOPE SHOULD IMPRESS UPON LIFE, If you knew that you were going to emigrate soon, and spend all your life on the other side of the world, in circumstances the outlines of which you knew, you would be a fool if you did not set yourself to get ready for them. The more clearly we see, and the more deeply we feel, that future hope, which is disclosed for us in the words of my text, the more it will prescribe a dominant purpose which will give unity, strength, buoyancy, and blessedness to any life. "Seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent." For what? "That ye maybe found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Every word is weighty here.

1. "That ye may be found." That implies, ii not search, at least investigation. It suggests the idea of the discovery of the true condition, character, or standing of a man which may have been hidden or partially obscured before — and now, at last, is brought out clearly.

2. Then, note, "Found in Him," or, "in His sight." Then Christ is the Investigator, and it is before "those pure eyes and perfect judgment" that they have to pass, who shall be admitted into the new heavens and the new earth, "wherein dwelleth righteousness."

3. Then mark what is the character which, discovered on investigation by Jesus Christ, admits there: "without spot and blameless." There must be the entire absence of every blemish, stain, or speck of impurity. "Blameless" is the consequence of "spotless." That which in itself is pure attracts no censure, whether from the Judge or from the assessors and onlookers in His court. In Peter's other letter Christ Himself is described as a Lamb "without blemish and without spot." And thus the character that qualifies for the new heavens is the copy in us of Jesus Christ. Still further, only those who thus have attained to the condition of absolute, speckless purity and conformity to Jesus Christ, will meet His searching eye in calm tranquillity and be "found of Him in peace." The steward brings his books to his master. If he knows that there has been trickery with the figures, and embezzlement, how the wretch shakes in his shoes, though he may stand apparently calm, as the master's keen eye goes down the columns! If he knows that it is all right, how calmly he waits the master's signature at the end, to pass the account! If we are to meet Jesus Christ with quiet hearts, and we certainly shall meet Him, we must meet Him "without spot and blameless."

III. THE EARNEST DILIGENCE WITH WHICH THAT AIM SHOULD BE PURSUED, IN THE LIGHT OF THAT HOPE. Peter is fond of using the word which is here translated "be diligent." Hard work, honest effort, continuous and persevering, is his simple recipe for all nobleness. The word includes in its meaning earnestness, and it very frequently includes that which is the ordinary consequence of earnestness — viz., haste and economy of time.

1. Be in earnest in cultivating a Christian character.

2. Make it your business to cultivate a character like that of Jesus Christ.

3. Make haste about cultivating a Christlike character. The harvest is great, the toil is heavy, the sun is drawing to the west, the reckoning is at hand. There is no time to lose; set about it as you have never done before, and say, "This one thing I do."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE STUPENDOUS EVENTS WHICH ARE EXPECTED.

II. THE IMPORTANT DUTY WHICH IS REQUIRED.

1. The opposite of that moral stupidity which prevails among men.

2. The reverse of that indolence of soul, with which so many engage in the affairs of salvation.

3. The opposite of a worldly spirit.

III. THE HAPPY END TO BE ACCOMPLISHED.

1. "That ye may be found of Him in peace" — not in affluence, honour, ease or indulgence; but in peace —

(1)With all mankind;

(2)With your own heart;

(3)With God, your reconciled Father.

2. "Without spot" (1 John 1:7). Let us plunge with confidence into this fountain opened for sin and uncleanness. Let us also be diligent, not only that we may be made, but also that we maybe preserved pure.

3. "Blameless"; your holy love so manifest, your justification and acceptance so clear, that bad men and devils dare not, good men and angels cannot, and God will not, lay anything to your charge.

(James Bromley.)

That ye may be found of Him in peace
1. Observe, that whatever be our state or character, we shall all be found of God. If we are sinners, and die such, our sins will find us out.

2. As all will be found of God at last, so there are some who will be "found of Him in peace." Such as have had the enmity of their hearts slain by Divine grace. This it is that heightens every other blessing, alleviates every affliction, and supports in the agonies of death.

3. In order to be found in peace at last, it is needful that we seek it here with diligence. Let us carefully examine into the state of our souls. Occupy till He come, and then His coming will be neither a terror nor surprise.

4. Let us now inquire who they are that will be found of God in peace.(1) Those only whom God finds in this world, and brings into a state of grace.(2) Those shall be found of God in peace who here have found Him. Some seek and find Him in the closet, some in the public assembly, and some on a sick and dying bed. Some in their youth, and others in more advanced years. If we do not find Him as a friend and a father, He will find us as a judge and avenger.(3) Those only will be found of God in peace who are found in Christ. This is what Paul so earnestly desired: "That I may win Christ, and be found in Him."(4) Those only will be found of Him in peace in whom some good thing is found towards the Lord God of Israel. Our nature must be renewed.(5) Those only will be found of God in peace whom He finds walking in the paths of peace. Religion does not so much consist in talking of God as in acting for Him; not in theory but in practice. Improvement:

1. The subject administers reproof to the careless, who content themselves with some sluggish attempts, but who are never in earnest about salvation.

2. We may hence learn that it is possible for persons to be satisfied about themselves, and to have a kind of peace in their own minds, and yet not be found of God in peace.

3. We see the suitableness and importance of the advice given us in the text: "Be diligent, that ye may be found of Him in peace."

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

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