2 Peter 3:13
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.…
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.