The Lord Promising a New Heaven and New Earth
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance . . . Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
(2 Peter 3:9, 13)
In our previous meditation, we considered Jesus’ promise to return for His people. “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3). Many centuries have come and gone with that promise remaining unfulfilled. Consequently, some are inclined to scoff at this promise. The Scriptures have prepared us for this by giving us another promise. “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days . . . saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’ ” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Nevertheless, we who believe God’s promises are convinced that He will keep His word and return for us. When He returns, He will fulfill another promise as well: the promise of a new heaven and new earth. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Two insights are offered here concerning the Lord’s delay in His return. The first one pertains to God’s compassion and patience in allowing more opportunity for people to repent and not perish. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” The second insight pertains to God’s perspective on time. For our eternal Lord, it is as though He made the promise of His return only a couple of days ago! “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
Yet, some day the Lord will fulfill His promise to return for us. Then, the new, eternal reality will come. “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” It is delightful to consider! “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away’ ” (Revelation 21:1-4).
Dear Lord, I eagerly await Your appearing. I rejoice at the place You have prepared for us - - a place of righteousness, joy, and peace. Above all, I anticipate dwelling in Your visible presence forever and ever, Amen!