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"New Heavens And New Earth"

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

            Peter wrote to the Christians and said, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you” (II Pet. 3:13-15).

What does Peter mean when he uses the term, “new heavens and new earth”? There have been many false doctrines that have arisen from a misunderstanding of this phrase. Some, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have misunderstood this phrase and teach that one day we will live on a “rejuvenated” earth. Some teach that Heaven and earth will somehow be joined together as one mass. To them, this is the “new heavens and new earth.” Neither of these positions teaches what Peter is teaching. They are false. We need to respect the context of II Peter as well as the context of the Bible itself to know the truth and understand what this phrase means.

            First, understand that the phrase “new heavens and new earth” is not exclusive to II Peter.  It is found in four places in the Bible - Isaiah 65:17, 66:22; II Peter 3:13; and Revelation 21:1. Secondly, the phrase “new heavens and new earth” does not have to do exclusively with Heaven. It merely means a new order of things. While this phrase can refer to Heaven, as it is definitely a “new order” from what we are used to, it does not mean God’s abode exclusively. A prime example of this distinction is found in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22. There, it means a new order was coming, and it did, about 700 years later! So, let us respect the context.

            In Peter’s letter, I understand him to be speaking about Heaven, God’s abode, because he said that in the “new heavens and new earth,” righteousness dwells (II Pet. 3:13). This agrees with his first letter when he said Christians are recipients of an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you” (I Pet. 1:4). This “new order” is a place where we who have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Pet. 1:4) will live!

            It obviously agrees with the immediate context, because Peter said the Lord will return and this earth will be destroyed by fire (II Pet. 3:10-12). Since this is true, we who are His children look for that “new heavens and new earth” (new order) where we will live in righteousness. We can’t do that on this sinful earth, but we can do it in God’s abode!

            In preparation for this new order (in this context, Heaven), then let us make sure we are “diligent” to be “found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Pet. 3:14). In other words, let us be faithful to God and let us make sure we are living what we are teaching. How strong is our faith (Heb. 11:6)? Let it be seen in our actions (Jas. 2:18b).

            Why has the Lord not returned yet? Read II Peter 3:15 and see that Christ’s longsuffering is still active. We also read about this longsuffering in verse 9. Let us thank God for His longsuffering. While we look forward to the new order of things and a new beginning, we can be patient and try to help one more come out of sin (II Cor. 5:11; II Tim. 4:2). What will you do today to help someone be free (Jn. 8:31-32, 36; Rom. 6:17-18?) Let us be active in serving the Lord and look forward to that new order with fondness!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs


Saturday, July 25, 2020

            II Peter 3:3 warns about “scoffers, walking after their own lust” who would come and question whether or not the Lord would return because “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (v. 4). What are “scoffers”? What is their work? Why was the Holy Spirit, through Peter, warning Christians about them?

            According to Mr. Strong, the word “scoffer” means, “a derider, by implication a false teacher, mocker.” For further clarification, to “deride” someone is “to laugh at in scorn or contempt” ( In the text, Peter warns of those who will laugh or mock at the idea of the Lord’s second coming. They don’t think it is real and scoff, make fun of, or mock those who speak the truth.

            Let’s make this a little more general for our article. Have you ever had someone scoff at you (make fun of, mock) for merely speaking the truth of God’s word? How did that make you feel? One way the devil works is to scoff or make fun of us when we know we are right. This affects our senses and causes us to either question our beliefs or simply be scared to express them. Through scoffing, people can be made to stop speaking the truth. This was the intention of scoffers in the first century, and it is the intention of scoffers today.

            When I speak the truth from God’s word (I Pet. 4:11; II Tim. 4:2), and people call me a “Pharisee,” “legalist,” “literalist,” and the like, this is scoffing. When they say that I am “too narrow,” or am too bold, this is scoffing as well. It should be apparent that scoffing occurs when people curse and say wicked things to insult me. Please note that when people do such things and call names, make fun of, sneer, and the like, they have done NOTHING to prove their point! This is a lesson I had to learn quickly in preaching. Having added my work on the internet, and coming in contact with “internet trolls,” the scoffing has reached new levels! In almost 30 years of preaching, though, I have come to terms with the fact that just because someone screams at you or knows how to make cutting remarks does not mean he has the truth on his side! It is usually the opposite.

            Being mocked and ridiculed does not feel good, but for those who respect God’s authority (Col. 3:17), speak His truth (II Tim. 4:2), and are determined to live it (I Tim. 4:12, 16; Phil. 4:9; I Cor. 15:58), this is a way of life! The darkness hates the light and hates those who are in the light (Jn. 3:19-21). Why should I be surprised at these people’s actions when I speak the truth that brings light to the world (Ps. 119:105)? Scoffers were there to unjustly criticize my Lord (Jn. 7:7). Why should I expect different treatment (Jn. 15:18-20; II Tim. 3:12)?

            Let these words encourage the hurt, and those who have been unjustly criticized, to keep on keeping on. “Preach the Word” (II Tim. 4:2)! Stand “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10)! Stand firm on the Lord’s word and do not waver! Scoffers will come and go, but “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (I Pet. 1:25). We can make it! We can be faithful to God (Rev. 2:10), and look forward to God’s reward when this life is over (II Tim. 4:6-8)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Again Entangled And Overcome"

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The last three verses of II Peter 2 are perhaps more well-known than other parts of this chapter. This section of Scripture is used to show (correctly) that a Christian may fall away from God and be lost (also II Pet. 3:17). “Once-saved-always-saved” or the impossibility of apostasy is not a teaching found in Scripture. Therefore, let us take a look at this section and see what lessons we can learn.

First, II Peter 2:20 is talking about the people who had been fooled by false teachers (v. 19). The reason why Peter wanted to make sure that the Christians were grounded in “the present truth” (II Pet. 1:12-15) is that it was possible for one who had “escaped the pollutions of the world” to be “again entangled and overcome”! To be “again entangled” implies that these folks had, at one point, been “untangled!” Yes, false teachers can tempt us to return to error if we are not vigilant (II Pet. 3:17)! Therefore, if people become entangled once more, then “the latter end is worse than the beginning.”

I find this statement fascinating because if the impossibility of apostasy doctrine is true, then Peter’s last statement is not true. According to those who believe in “once-saved-always-saved,” a man who is “again entangled” never really was saved anyway! In that case, the latter end couldn’t be worse than the beginning for this person, because, from the beginning, this man was doomed and damned to Hell! At the same time, if the impossibility of apostasy doctrine is true for the saved person, then Peter’s last statement is still not true! This is because if a man is saved and bound for Heaven, then he stays saved regardless of what he does while on earth. So, from the beginning, this man was going to Heaven, and how could his destiny be any better? Can we see now how the “once-saved-always-saved” teaching contradicts plain truth? Let’s stop reading the Bible through a “filter,” and let’s accept the Bible for what it says!

II Peter 2:21-22 continues to describe this one who has fallen back into his old ways of sin. Included in this is Peter’s quotation of Proverbs 26:11. God looks upon the saved person who reverts to a life of sin like a dog that vomits and then laps it back up! If this is a disgusting description to you, then you got the point! The actions of a Christian who goes back into sin and the world are as repulsive to God as watching a dog eat puke! Similarly, it reminds God of a freshly-washed sow who rolls in the mire. For those reading who have not been around hogs, please understand that “mire” is not merely “mud.” There is something else in the mud that she is rolling in in order to stay cool! If we think that it is disgusting for a hog (or anything) to root and roll in their own waste, then you get the point! When God sees Christians leave Him and go back into sin, they are rolling in the filth once more!

God does not teach the “once-saved-always-saved” doctrine. The old dodge that says, “a man that falls back into sin never really was saved in the first place” can’t be correct. First, it is not correct because the statement is illogical. Someone who “never really was saved” was just that -- not saved! You can’t fall back into the mire if you never left! Second, we know that old dodge can’t be right because the text says the sow was “washed”! If she was washed, she was clean. She was free from the filth! Then she went back to the “wallowing.” She was out of the mire, washed and clean, and then went back. This is a picture of a person who was taught the truth, saved, cleansed from sin (I Cor. 6:11; Acts 22:16), and then went back to his life in sin. A living example of II Peter 2:20-22 is Simon (Acts 8:13-22). Peter witnessed that event.

Let the words from II Peter 2:20-22 stand as a warning to us. Christians can sin so as to be lost! What can saved people do to prevent this? Get our minds saturated in God’s word (II Pet. 1:12-15) and live it! Don’t listen to false teachers, those who lie to us about our souls (II Pet. 2:19), but listen to the truth of God and be faithful all of our lives (I Cor. 15:58)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"Cannot Cease From Sin"

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

            “Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin” is a vivid description of false teachers (II Pet. 2:14). It reminds me of the description of the people before the Flood when “every imagination of the thoughts of (man’s) heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). To have one’s eyes “full of adultery” is a poetic way of saying these people see the perverse in everything. Purity and innocence are gone from them. Sin has perverted their minds.

            This statement, “cannot cease from sin,” doesn’t meant they physically couldn’t stop sinning. They could change if they desired (II Pet. 3:9). It means that these folks won’t stop. They have “exercised” their hearts to where they think of only the wicked, the ugly, the sinful, the impure, the dishonest, and the godless. It has become such a habit for them that it is like “second-nature.” It’s like breathing to them. Paul similarly described the Gentiles in Romans 1:18-32. Do you know people like this? Have you seen people like this in the mirror? I pray not!

            It is these people that Peter says promise folks “liberty” though “they themselves are the servants (slaves) of corruption” (II Pet. 2:19)! These people are in bondage to their sin and wickedness, and they want others to go with them down the same road! This is the nature of those in bondage to sin. They don’t want people “judging” them, but joining them! They don’t want people to instruct them in the way that is right and cannot be wrong (Rom. 1:16-17; Jn. 8:31-32). They want consequences ignored as they think about all the “freedom” and all the “fun” they are having in sin!

            As an example, this is the practice of any alcohol ad. The commercials focus on the “fun-times,” or the “sophistication,” or just quiet introspection as one thoughtfully drinks alcohol. At the end, we read the disclaimer to “Think when you drink” or a reminder to have a designated driver, or there is the fine print where a toll-free number for “A.A.” is offered. Why the disclaimers? I thought alcohol brings good times and sophistication! Why a designated driver? Doesn’t alcohol make you smart? Apparently, alcohol promises one thing (liberty) but brings something else (bondage). If you are not sure about this, ask why it is that alcohol commercials never include winos or the people whose marriages were destroyed because of alcohol. Why do we never see ads showing the people having “DT’s” when coming off of a weekend bender? “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again” (Prov. 23:25). This is the mantra of the addicted person, i.e., the one who is fooled into thinking he is free when he is actually in bondage.

            Other examples of spiritual bondage abound, but the point is that a man can sin so much until it is “second-nature.” He can lie so frequently that he no longer knows what the truth is! Someone who cannot cease from sin is in slavery and needs to get out! The only One who can free us from the bondage of sin is Christ (Jn. 8:31-32, 36). He makes it possible for us to “escape the pollutions of this world (II Pet. 2:20). The question is, will we accept His cure? He sacrificed His life for all (Matt. 20:28), but not everyone accepts it (Matt. 7:13-14, Acts 17:30-34).

            What will you do? Will you continue in bondage, or will you accept freedom in Christ? When we believe on Christ (Jn. 8:32), repent of our sins (Lk. 13:3, 5), confess our faith (Rom. 10:10), and are baptized, we can be made “free from sin” (Rom. 6:17-18; Acts 22:16). The sin that was once “second-nature” we can drop and can accept true freedom in Christ! Why are you waiting?

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"The Lord Knows How ..."

Saturday, July 18, 2020

            Peter tells the Christians (and us), “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (II Pet. 2:9). This statement reminded me of the words of Paul when he wrote, “God is faithful” and will not allow us to be tempted above what we can bear (I Cor. 10:13). In context, Peter was saying that the false teachers, who were teaching “damnable heresies” (II Pet. 2:1), were facing their judgment by God (v. 3). He then reminds us that God was able to punish angels, the “old world” when Noah lived, and Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 4-6), and so He knows how to punish the modern-day false teachers!

            We feel overwhelmed at times. Perhaps we feel like Asaph, who had almost given up when he observed that it seems like the wicked get away with their sins while the righteous are plagued (Ps. 73:1-16). Maybe we think that God doesn’t see or know what is happening in this world, and thus He doesn’t see the sacrifices I am making. Friend, if a sparrow can’t fall to the ground without our Father, don’t you know He sees you (Matt. 10:29-31)? He knows who we are and what we are doing (Jer. 23:24; Heb. 4:13). God knows how to deliver us! Just as a father knows how to bless his children, so also our Heavenly Father knows how to bless us (Matt. 7:7-11). Asaph also learned this lesson when he “went to the house of the Lord” (Ps. 73:17-28).

In like manner, He also knows how to punish those who are doing wickedly in word and deed (Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30; Nahum 1:2-3). This was Peter’s point in II Peter 2:1-8. False teachers may think they are getting away with something, but they are not. God is watching, and He will bring about justice at the right time.

            Therefore, let us make sure we are speaking the truth and living it (Phil. 4:8-9)! Ungodly men might not like what we are doing, but God sees us and will bless (Jas. 4:4; Jn. 15:18-20). Let us make sure we do not fall for the lies of the false teachers. This is the reason we must demand sound doctrine, and yes, to have it repeated again and again in our hearts so that we might not forget it (II Pet. 2:12-15; Ps. 119:11)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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