Surprised by Hope: 2 Peter 3:10-13 — A New Creation

We can’t read “new heavens and new earth” and not recall Genesis 1, where God created “the heavens and the earth.” Obviously, this phrase is intended to refer to a re-making of the first creation. Or is it a replacement of the old creation?

But the new heavens and new earth aren’t the only new creation spoken of in the Bible. There’s another important one we have to consider.

(2 Cor 5:17)  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

(Gal 6:15)  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

When we are saved, we become a “new creation.” The work God will complete in us at the end of time has already begun to such an extent that we are a “new creation” already. But we are still very much a part of this old, decaying creation (as amply evidenced by our old, decaying bodies).

This new creation is for a purpose —

(Eph 2:10)  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God anticipates in us what he will finish at the End, in order that we will join him in his redemptive work. We are re-created so, like God, we’ll do the work of God.

(Eph 4:22-24)  You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

And so, God has done a second act of creation already in adopting us as his children. Indeed, Paul declares in 2 Cor 5:17 that the old creation “has gone” parechomai — the same word Peter uses in 2 Pet 3:10 to refer to the fate of the old heavens: “the heavens will pass away [parechomai] with a great noise”!

God makes us into new creations in anticipation of making the heavens and the earth into new creations. Indeed, for us, it’s already happened, because God has already re-formed us by giving us his Spirit, making us into spiritual beings.

(Rom 8:20-23)  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Paul says the present creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay joining Christians in “the glorious freedom of the children of God.” We already have the “firstfruits of the Spirit,” so that we’ve already begun to receive the re-creation that the rest of the heavens and earth are looking forward to.

This could only have happned because we’ve already died.

(Col 3:3-4)  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

But we weren’t annihilated. Rather, we are being transformed to be like Jesus.

(2 Cor 3:18)  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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22 Responses to Surprised by Hope: 2 Peter 3:10-13 — A New Creation

  1. Bob Harry says:

    Good post.

    When we are saved we become a "new creation"

    The meaning of Eph. 2:10 of "created in Jesus" is there is somthing there that wasen't there before. I understand that to mean the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
    Most folks in my world of disbelivers would like to know just when that occurs, that is, as the Baptist beleive, is when you first accept Chist as your personal savior or as the COC and many other Christian groups believe is after you are baptized for the remmision of sins.
    What confusion we have created and the fact there are so many church groups not the one Holy Apostolic Church proclaimed in the Nicean Creed of 315 AD.
    God help us understand what you want from us and the fact that salvation is a free gift. Somthing innocent and God has always had to die for our mistakes.
    Even Adam and Eve, when God gave them skins to wear over their own inovation of fig leaves implies that an innocent animal had to die and give it's skin to cover our nakedness or to give us a sense of imputed righteousness.
    When are we Saved?

    Bob

  2. Human Ape says:

    When we are saved, we become a “new creation.”

    What a wacko. Grow up retard.

  3. Bob Harry says:

    Ape

    When are we saved before or after baptism or when we first believe?
    I will admit to being a retard when it comes to God and the complete understanding of his word. Enlighten me please

    A wacko Bob

  4. connie says:

    Why the name calling???? People are not called retards anymore they are cognitvely impaired so you grow up ! HUMAN APE ??!!!

  5. Bob Harry says:

    connie

    Click on his name and you will see why. He is an evolutionist. He did not understand the question I raise that we are new creatures but when are we saved? A daunting question that has haunted Christianity for hundreds of years. Before or after baptism ?

    Thanks Connie. I don't condem or call names. My antagonist in Christ may be right. I don't pretend to have all the answers.
    Bob

  6. connie says:

    THANKS BOB i love reading everyones letters i really didnt mean it for you I meant it for Human Ape and I guess it just kind of blew me away his name calling ,thanks for this sight ,connie

  7. Bob Harry says:

    connie

    the poor guy is an atheist. I have talked to him but he has a tough exterior.
    Bob

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bob, you obviously knew the COC denomination's view that people purchase Jesus. I would suggest you first start your own study of the Bible then search out a Bible teaching church that teaches the Bible as a whole.

    Throughout the Bible, every dispensation, salvation is offered through the Messiah, salvation is given by God. Every believer in the Hebrew Scriptures was given eternal salvation through Christ’s blood. Many people don’t understand that all who have salvation are those who trust the Lord to be their Savior. David performed righteous acts, he also committed many sins, he understood the symbols, David understood that his salvation was not something he can merit, he knew that his salvation came from the Lord alone, he looked forward to the same Messiah we look back to. My faith rests on the Lord. The Lord alone is my salvation nothing else.

  9. connie says:

    Also i f we arent sure,,, why not get baptized to be sure we are saved …my mother always said isnt it better to believe and obey CHRIST than to die and find out we should have that is not why i am a believer… also my biggest confusion is with music ,sometimes i feel guilty when their are drums, so i"m sinning if i partcipate in that worship ?? because i feel guilty ???i was raised in noninsurmental but now go to instrumental church thanks again … it says submit comment but actually questions..

  10. Bob Harry says:

    Jay

    Thank you for your patience with me. I have read your postings on Baptism and totally agree with you. Donna and I were baptized more than fifty years ago in a Church of Christ in Chanute Kansas. We were baptized for the forgiveness of sin and have recieved the Holy Spirit. I talked to a Baptist pastor Sunday and he interpets Acts 2:38 as "because of forgiveness of sin".
    It is so frustrating to me to see the lackadaisical manner in which so many Churches twist scripture yet proclaim to be a bible loving church.
    The COC with all of its problems still is more consistant in many ways. We are deeper into the Spirit now and I pray that our growth will be maintained in the Spirit and the deeper understanding of what Christ would have us do with our lives.
    I wish you a great new year and may God's richest blessing come to you, your family and the Church you co shepherd.
    Bob

  11. Bob Harry says:

    Connie

    I believe God loves you drums and all. I can take the music, both acapella or with instruments. Your faith and obedience to His commands with the help of the holy Spirit will keep you in the light.

    Thank you for defending with the Ape Man. You are now one of my favorite sisters,

    Grace and peace to you little sister.

    Bob

  12. Anonymous says:

    Jay, Are all people saved the same?

  13. Jay Guin says:

    Anonymous,

    It's not an entirely clear question. I mean, salvation is salvation. The results of salvation are pretty the same person to person.

    If you mean, is the process of receiving salvation the same for everyone? the answer is no.

    Cornelius received the Spirit before baptism. The Samaritans received the Spirit after baptism. The apostles received the Spirit when they believed with no recorded baptism at all.

    If faith is the moment of salvation, rather than baptism, then why didn't the Samaritans receive the Spirit until after baptism?

    All that bothers a lot of people. It doesn't make for a neat, logical systematic theology.

    My theories are laid out in the posts I provided in reply to Bob's comment.

  14. Jay Guin says:

    Connie,

    I grew up in the Churches of Christ. I'm now a third generation elder. My best friends growing up were the sons of preachers. And I don't think I was ever persuaded on instrumental music. I mean, the arguments just never made sense to me, even in junior high.

    But I remember, as a young adult, going to a church party where some older, very conservative men pulled out fiddles and guitars to play bluegrass. When they started to fiddle through some hymns, every nerve in my body was twitching.

    I was in full "fight or flight" mode! I mean, I was ready to run from impending fire and brimstone, even though intellectually I was fully convinced that instruments aren't sin!

    You see, our intellects and our feelings don't always line up. Therefore, we can feel like we're sinning even when we know we aren't.

    (Rom 14:23) But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

    "Faith" here would be better translated "faithfulness" — it's about the part of faith that requires us to submit to Jesus as Lord.

    If I do something thinking it's wrong, then I'm in rebellion, even if I'm mistaken. But if I prayerfully studied God's word, concluded that something is not sin, but my feelings haven't yet caught up with my brain, it's not sin for that reason.

  15. Anonymous says:

    "If faith is the moment of salvation, rather than baptism, then why didn’t the Samaritans receive the Spirit until after baptism?" – Jay

    Acts 8:16 “For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."

    People may think others have genuine faith when they really don’t, only God truly knows a person’s heart.

    It says Simon believed, Acts 8:13 “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.”

    God knew Simons faith wasn’t genuine as it was soon revealed, Acts 8:21 “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.”

    God searches our hearts.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Are all people saved the same? Any Bible lovers want to answer…..it’s really not a hard question?

  17. Bob Harry says:

    Anonymous

    If faith only saves why did the Jews ask Peter " what must we do to be saved"? You don" think they did not beleive?

  18. Anonymous says:

    There were thousands of people there. If all the people already had faith Peter would not have needed to tell them to repent.

    Jesus saved the thief on the cross who was not baptized who clearly repented having faith in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). Cornelius and his household had faith believing Jesus as the Messiah and were saved before they were baptized (Acts 10:43-48).

    You would say Cornelius was an exception Peter said we are all saved the same.

    Acts 15:11 “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

    The many righteous works Abraham did justified him that he was seen to others as a great man of God, though the works he did could not justify him before God. The blood of Christ saved Abraham and others who had faith looking forward to the promise of eternal life through the Messiah who would save mankind.

    Romans 4:2-3 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    All who have eternal salvation are those who trust the Lord to be their Savior. We are all saved the same through the blood of Christ.

  19. Randall says:

    Bob Harry asked *If faith only saves why did the Jews ask Peter ” what must we do to be saved”?*
    Actually the Jews didn't ask that question – the situation in Acts 2 was that they realized as a result of Peter's preaching that they had crucified their Messiah and up on that realization they simply asked "What must we do?" not what must we do to be saved. It strikes me as them saying something like "Oh my, in light of what we have done, what must we do?" Many may feel the distinction is trivial but there is a distinction to be made.

    I know of only one place where a person asks what he must do "TO BE SAVED." The passage is located in Acts 16:30 and it is asked by the jailer. Paul and Silas reply in verse 31 and say "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." They then speak the word of the Lord to him and the jailer washes their wounds and he and his household were baptized that very night.

    It is easy to conclude that baptism is altogether appropriate upon recognizing one has come to faith in Jesus, even if it is the middle of the night. It is not so easy to use this as a proof text to support baptism as the moment in which one has his sins washed away or that one is not saved by grace through faith – apart from works.

    BTW, faith only as taught by the reformers is rather different from the caricature we heard often enough in the CofC. Luther taught that "man is saved by faith alone, but not that faith which is alone." He is also quoted as having said "man is saved by faith, not works, but by a faith that works."

    If a person came to a true faith and immediately died surely none of us think he would not be saved b/c he had not done any works and I am sure we have all heard the what ifs such as what if a person died in an auto accident on his way to be baptized.

    Alexander Campbell addressed this rather well in the Lunenburg letter. And yes, I already know he backed off of it a little when it raised such an uproar among those that taught that salvation didn't occur until a person was immersed.

  20. Bob Harry says:

    Randall

    Good point.

    I have known and admired many Christians who were baptized by sprinkling, as infants, saved before baptism and pronbly twenty other ways. My only comment is if they are lost God have mercy on us all.

    Pilate was the only real fool I have known who was in the Lord's presence . Jesus said I came to proclaim truth. His answer was, "what is truth".

    Jay is to be commended for his efforts in stimulating conversations such as this. Thank you all for your keen answers and we pray that we can be more like Jesus especially as we proclaim the Gospel to those who are lost. I know that God understands our diversity and hopes we tolerat each other while searching for truth in his word.

    God bless you all

    Bob

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