Salvation

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 

‘Ashamed’ [Greek: epaischunomai] Paul here fulfils Isaiah 28:16: “he that believes shall not make haste” – he that confides and trusts in the sure foundation is secure and will not make haste or be ashamed (Rom. 9:33; 1Pet. 2:6).

‘Gospel of Christ’ another term for “gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). ‘Power’ [Greek: dunamis] inherent power; the ability to reproduce itself, like a dynamo. The Gospel is God’s power: To produce the new birth (1Pet. 1:23); to give salvation (1:16; Eph. 1:13); to impart grace (Acts 20:24); to establish people in the faith (16:25); to generate faith (10:17); to set free (John 8:31-36); to nourish spiritual life (1Pet. 2:2); to cleanse the church (Eph. 5:26); to search the life (Heb. 4:12); to make partakers of Christ (Eph. 3:6); to impart immortality (2Tim. 15:29).

‘Salvation’ [Greek: soteria] translated “salvation” 40 times; “saved” (Luke 1:71; Rom. 10:1); “deliver” (Acts 7:25); “health” (Acts 27:34); and “saving” (Heb. 11:7). Salvation is the all-inclusive word of the gospel, gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes. It is used 119 times in the Old Testament. There are 7 Hebrew and Greek words for “salvation.” They are used 388 times and are translated by 23 English words, some with various endings, which mean salvation, deliverance, save, health, help, welfare, safety, victory, Saviour, defend, avenge, rescue, and preserve.

Salvation is used of: Deliverance from danger (Ex. 14:1-31); victory over enemies (1Sam. 14:1-52); healing of the body (Acts 3:6; 4:12); forgiveness of sin (Luke 19:9; Rom. 10:9-10; Ps. 38:18-22; 51:1-13; 79:9); freedom from prison (Php. 1:19); deliverance from captivity (Ps. 14:1-7); deliverance from wrath (1Thess. 5:9).

Salvation from sin comes through: Confession (Rom. 10:9; 1Jn. 1:9); grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9); sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2Thess. 2:13); godly sorrow (2Cor. 7:10); faith in His blood (Rom. 3:25); faith in His name (Acts. 4:12).

‘For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith’ God’s righteousness is revealed in the gospel on the ground of faith as the absolute condition of salvation, and is only effective in those who believe.

‘The just shall live by faith’ quoted from Habakkuk 2:4. It means that the just must live by continued faith, and go from faith to faith (grow in trust) as light (knowledge) is received (1Jn. 1:7).

Be Established

Romans 1:8-15 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end you may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 

‘Whole world’ showed to the Roman Empire here. This is a figure of speech, synecdoche: a whole is put for a part, as in Genesis 6:17; 2Samuel 6:5, 15; 1Kings 11:16-17; Daniel 2:37-38; 7:23; Matthews 3:5-6; Luke 2:1-3; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:23 and Revelation 13:8, 16.

‘With my spirit’ we must serve God with spirit and soul, as well as with our bodies (1Cor. 6:19-20).

‘That I may impart unto you some spiritual gift’ Paul had the fullness of God (Rom. 15:29) and could impart spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands (1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:2). Not many in history can claims this even though so many false teachers/prophets (Matt. 7:15-20; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; 2Cor. 11:13; 1Tim. 4:1-2; 2Pet. 2:1; 1Jn. 4:1) deceive others very successfully without having the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and the qualifications as laid down in 1Timothy 3:1-13.

‘To the end you may be established’ the purpose of all spiritual gifts (1Cor. 1:7; 12:4-11, 28-30; 14:1-40; Rom. 12:3-8) is that God – and not man or institutions – may be glorified through the body of Christ (1Cor. 10:31; 12:12-27).

‘That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me’ be blessed through their establishment by spiritual gifts.

‘Now I would not have you ignorant’ six things are mentioned by Paul in his letters to the congregations wherein he did not want people to be ignorant of: Gospel responsibility (Rom. 1:11-18); God’s purpose for Israel (Rom. 11:25-32); God’s judgments on backsliders (1Cor. 10:1-13); Spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12:1-31); God’s faithfulness in trouble (2Cor. 1:8-10); The resurrection and future life (1Thess. 4:13-18).

‘Debtor’ [Greek: opheiletes] one under an obligation or bound to some duty (1:14; 8:12; 15:27; Matt. 6:12; 18:24; Luke 13:4).

‘Barbarians’ [Greek: barbaros] It does not mean that they were uncivilized, for Greeks called any people “barbarians” who did not speak the Greek language. Paul himself used the term of those whose language he did not understand (1Cor. 14:11). The Egyptians also called all “barbarians” who did not speak their language. ‘Unwise’ [Greek: anoetos] unintelligent.

‘Ready’ [Greek: prothumos] ready, willing. Paul was ready to do that what he was called for – to do the work of an apostle of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:2; 26:16-18; 1Tim. 1:11-12) – in order to complete the New Testament as we have it today. Many teachers and preachers make the same claim without having a personal calling from Christ.

Called to Be Saints

Romans 1:2-7 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

‘Promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures’ in the law, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44; Acts 3:21; Heb. 1:1) always referring to the Old Testament.

‘Concerning his Son Jesus Christ’ Christ is the great theme of the gospel and the fulfilment of Scripture (Rom. 1:2; Luke 24:44; John 5:39; Acts 1:21-22). ‘His Son’ – not Himself, but His Son (1Jn. 5:7).

‘Was made of the seed of David’ Christ inherited the throne rights through His foster father, Joseph, but not as the seed of David through Solomon and Coniah; He was begotten of God as the Seed of the woman (Mary, who was of another line of David – Nathan’s line). He was, therefore, the rightful heir to the throne of David (Isa. 9:6; 11:1; Matt. 1:1-25; Luke 1:32; Gal. 4:1-31) and He will reign over his kingdom eternally when He comes again – at the second coming (Jer. 23:5-6; Isa. 9:6-7; 32:1; Ezek. 43:7; Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 6:12-13; 14:9; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:13-18; Rev. 11:15; 20:1-10; 22:4-5).

‘According to the flesh’ according to human nature (Heb. 2:7-18; Rom. 9:3-5; 1Tim. 3:15; 1Jn. 4:2).

‘Declared’ [Greek: horizo] marked out, manifested to be God’s Son by a display of power (Acts 10:38; John 10:10; Luke 4:18-21). ‘According to’ [Greek: kata] according to, or through the Holy Spirit who raised Him from the dead to prove to all people that He was the true Messiah and Saviour of all mankind (Acts 2:22-36; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 17:31). The Jews crucified Jesus because He claimed to be the Son of God (John 8:40). God resurrected Him because He was the Son of God (Rom. 1:4).

‘By whom we have received grace and apostleship’ by Christ – they, the apostles received grace and apostleship. We receive grace.

‘For obedience to the faith’ this is the test for man in the dispensation of Grace. If man fails to have faith, he is lost (Mark 16:16; John 3:16).

‘Nations’ [Greek: ethnos] Used 29 times in Romans. Translated “Gentiles,” except here; and in Romans 4:17-18; 10:19; 16:26.

‘Called to be saints’ God has called all people and all are free to accept or reject the call (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It is His plan that He has foreknown and predestined, not the individual conformity of free wills to the plan. All who do accept the calling, He has foreknown and predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son that His Son might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29). Those who reject the plan or calling, He has foreknown and predestined to be consigned to eternal hell as an everlasting monument of His wrath on rebels (Isa. 66:22-24; Rev. 14:9-11; Matt. 25:41, 46). This is the sum of foreknowledge and predestination.

The Gospel of God

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God

‘Paul’ we can see his history written in Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-30; 11:25-30; 12:25; 13:1-28:31; Galatians 1:1-24; Philippians 3:1-21; 1Timothy 1:1-20 and 2Corinthians 11-12. His name heads up all of his epistles (except Hebrews). ‘Servant’ [Greek: doulos] bond-slave; one who is the entire property of another (1Cor. 6:19-20; 2Cor. 4:5).

‘Called’ [Greek: kletos] called. Here, called to an office and divinely selected and appointed to fill it (Rom. 1:1; 1Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:15). Believers can’t claim that they have the same calling as Paul (and the other apostles) had, because they were called to preach what they learnt (Gal. 1:17-18) from Jesus Christ as they wrote to the believers from various congregations.

‘Apostle’ [Greek: apostolos] a delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. Twenty-four apostles are recorded of which the first twelve were Jesus’ disciples: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas (Matt. 10:3); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4). Then there was Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts. 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas and Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Titus (2Cor. 8:23);  Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8), and Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1)

‘Separated’ [Greek: aphorizo] set apart. Three stages of Paul’s separation: At birth, in God’s mind (Gal. 1:15); at conversion, from Judaism to the gospel (Acts 9:15-16; 1Tim. 1:15-16); at his commission, from secular work to the work of God (Acts 13:2; 26:16-18; 1Tim. 1:11-12)

‘The gospel of God’ the gospel of God (Acts 1:1-5) can be summarized as follows: The gospel defined (Acts 10:15); fulfilment of the promises (Acts 1:2); a revelation (Gal. 1:11-12, 16); historical and prophetic facts of the gospel (Luke 24:44; 1Cor. 15:1-23); a manifestation of: (1) God’s creation (Acts 1:20; Eph. 3:9), (2) Man’s rebellion (Acts 1:21-3:23), (3) God’s love, mercy, and grace (John 1:17; 3:16; Tit. 2:11-12; 3:5), God’s wrath (Rom. 1:18-32),  (5) God’s salvation (Rom. 1:16; 3:24-31; John 3:16; 1Jn. 1:9), (6) God’s plan (Acts 3:19-21; Rom. 8:19-25; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21-22), (7) Man’s destiny: rebels (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15); the saved (John 14:1-3; Rev. 5:10; 21:1-22:5); confirmation of the gospel (Mark 16:15-20; Rom. 15:18-29; Heb. 2:1-4); ordinances of the gospel: (1) water baptism (Matt. 28:19) and (2) the Lord’s Supper (1Cor. 11:19-34).

Be Found of Him in Peace

2Peter 3:14-18 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you 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; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 

‘Be diligent that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless’ three final commands in 2Peter that save the soul: Be diligent that you may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless (3:14); beware lest you also (like the backsliders of 2Peter 2:1-22), being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness (3:17); grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ 3:18).

‘Written unto you’ Paul has written the letter of Hebrews ‘unto the Jews’.

‘Some things hard to be understood’ the things that Peter refers to are not listed, so it cannot be known what he would consider hard to understand. Had he possessed the whole New Testament Peter might have had more light on some of Paul’s statements.

‘Unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction’ this should not be taken as proof that the Bible is hard to understand, or that the common man cannot understand it, for the unlearned and unstable not only stumble at the so-called things which are hard to comprehend by some, they also twist the so-called simple scriptures to their own destruction, not wanting to understand (Matt. 13:15-17; 1Cor. 2:14).

‘Beware lest you also, being led away’ here is another proof that it is possible for a Christian to be led into error and fall from his steadfastness. If such is not possible, then many scriptures like this are meaningless.

‘Error of the wicked’ the error of the wicked is to wrest (twist) the Scriptures to make them condone or excuse their lusts and sinful practices.

‘But’ this clause is connected to “fall from your own steadfastness” (3:17), meaning that one can backslide and fall from grace. See Galatians 1:6-9; 5:4 and Hebrews 12:15.

‘Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’ the Christian life is growth. Every grace and blessing of the gospel is in seed-form and implanted in the newborn child of God (1Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18). If these seeds are watered from heaven and cared for by the individual in conformity to the Word of God, they will grow to full maturity. No single work of grace or even a dozen works of grace or anointing of the Spirit will make a person fully mature and beyond the growing stage of Christian experience. One must walk in the light as he receives knowledge and he will grow normally to maturity in Christ (1Jn. 1:7; 1Pet. 2:1-8).

According to His Promise

2Peter 3:11-13 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. 

‘Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved’ seeing then – that all the things of earth and of man that need to be removed will be burned up, leaving only those things which need not be burned up – let us live godly and holy lives.

‘Conversation’ [Greek: anastrophe] behaviour or manner of life; the whole conduct of life in domestic and public relations. Always translated “conversation” (1:15, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16; Gal. 1:13; Eph. 4:22; 1Tim. 4:12; Heb. 13:7; Jas. 3:13; 2Pet. 2:7; 3:11).

‘Looking for’ let us look forward to the renewal of the earth and to the day of God in the new earth when He will be all and all, as before rebellion and sin (1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:1-22:5).

‘Hasting unto the coming’ expecting and desiring the day of God. Man cannot hasten or hinder the coming of Christ, the coming kingdom, the day of God, or anything else fixed in God’s own time (Acts 1:7), but there are those who are excited about being with God and that are looking forward to His coming.

‘Day of God’ the day of God is when God rules supremely again over all His creation without one person rebelling against Him, and as it was before Lucifer and Adam’s rebellions (3:13; 1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 21:1-22:5; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24).

‘Wherein the heavens being of fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat’ this will be at the end of the day of the Lord and the beginning of the day of God (3:7, 10-13; 1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:7-15).

‘Promise’ this promise was already given in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22-24. ‘New heavens and a new earth’ three times earth made new: At its first creation (Gen; 1:1); at the recreation in the six days of Genesis 1:3-2:25 and Exodus 20:11; 31:15. At the renovation of the heavens and the earth by fire (3:7, 3:12-13; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; Rev. 21:1-22:5).

‘Dwells righteousness’ the earth was originally created to be inhabited (Isa. 45:18). This purpose will be realized forever when the natural people who do not rebel with satan at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10) will remain on the earth after its renovation by fire and multiply forever, as God intended Adam and his race to do before the fall (Gen. 1:26-31; 8:22; 9:12; Isa. 9:6-7; 59:20; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-27; Luke 1:31-33; Rev. 11:15; 22:5).

All Should Come to Repentance

2Peter 3:7-10 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

‘Which are now, by the same word are kept in store’ the present heavens and the earth, as restored to a second perfect state in the days of Adam (Gen. 1:3-2:25; Ex. 20:11).

‘Unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men’ this is the 6th New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. This proves that the time of the renovation of the heavens and the earth by fire of 2Peter 3:10-13 will be at the time of the great white throne judgment at the end of the Millennium (3:7; Rev. 20:11-15).

‘The one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’ that with God, a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years. He inhabits eternity and is not subject to time to get His work done before death as is the case with us (3:8-9; Isa. 57:15; Eph. 3:11).  

‘But is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’ this shows us why God has delayed so long in putting down all rebellion and in tolerating His enemies to continue their evil designs. The Lord is not slack concerning His promises but is longsuffering to all men, wishing that all would come to repentance (3:9; 1Tim. 2:4; Rev. 22:17).

‘The day of the Lord will come …’ this is the 7th and last New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is unfulfilled. The day of the Lord is the Millennium, from the second coming to the rebellion of satan at the end of that period (Rev. 19:11-20:10). The day of the Lord cannot come until the Lord comes to reign (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; 61:2; 63:1-6; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 30:3; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Amos 5:18; Joel 2:1-32; Oba. 1:15; Zeph. 1:8, 18; 2:2-3; Zech. 14:1-21; Mal. 4:1-6; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; 1Thess. 5:2; 2Thess. 1:7-10; 2:1-12; Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:11-21; 20:1-10).

‘As a thief in the night’ this expression is used only in 2Peter 3:10 and Revelation 3:3; 16:15. Each time it refers to the day of the Lord coming as a thief, except Revelation 3:3 where it refers to judgment on the local congregation of Sardis. Christ’s coming is also referred to as a thief (Matt. 24:43; 1Thess. 5:2-4).

‘Which the heavens shall pass away’ in the day of the Lord the renovation of the earth will take place – not at the beginning of it, but at the end (3:7; Rev. 20:7-15).

‘Pass away’ – Change [Greek: parechomai] pass away; pass from condition to another. It never means annihilation. Passing away of the heavens and the earth (3:10; Rev. 21:1), or the changing of them, like old things passing away and all things becoming new at the new birth (2Cor. 5:17). It means they will be: Purified by fire (3:7, 10-12); delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom. 8:21); changed to a new state (Heb. 1:10-12); re-created or renewed to their original perfection (Heb. 12:25-28; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; 1Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1); cleansed of all the curse and its effects (Rev. 22:3).

‘Great noise’ [Greek: rhoizedon] a rushing sound; swish; illustrating the length and suddenness of the renovation. ‘Elements’ [Greek: stoicheion] translated “element” (3:10, 12; Gal. 4:3, 9); “rudiment” (Col. 2:8, 20); and “principle” (Heb. 5:12). It has reference to the principles or basic elements of the present world system of evil spirits, sinful and fallen nature, germs, corruptions, and all elements by which people corrupt themselves.

‘Melt’ [Greek: luo] to lose. Translated “melt” (3:10); “dissolve” (3:11-12). Here it means the loosing of the heavens and the earth from the curse by fire, not their annihilation. ‘Fervent heat’ [Greek: kausoo] burning heat (3:10, 12). ‘Earth’ [Greek: ge] the ground (3:10).

‘Works’ [Greek: ergon] works, toil, deeds, labour, and acts of man. It is used of religious works as well as other kinds of work. ‘Burned up’ [Greek: katakaio] to burn down to the ground; wholly consume with fire. It has reference to the things of earth and of man that need to be removed, so that the things that need not be moved may remain eternally (Heb. 12:25-28).

The World That Then Was

2Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished

‘World’ [Greek: kosmos] social system. The one that then was, being deluged with water, perished. This refers to the pre-Adamite world that totally perished by the flood of Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 104:5-9. There was no man, bird, or any other life left after this flood (Jer. 4:23-26). This was when Lucifer rebelled (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-17; Matt. 13:35).

‘That then was’ three periods of the heavens and earth: The world that then was (3:6; Gen. 1:1-2); the heavens and the earth which are now (3:7; Gen. 1:3-2:25); the new heavens and new earth (3:13; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; Rev. 21-22).

‘Overflowed with water, perished’ the pre-Adamites period can be seen clearly from the two social systems that are mentioned here by Peter. One was before the one which is now and the other after the one that then was (3:6-7). The former social system perished by water and the present one will perish by fire (3:6-7). The former social system was created “in the beginning” and was destroyed by the flood of Genesis 1:1-2. The present social system was created in six days since the flood of Genesis 1:2 (Genesis 1:3-2:25). The flood of Noah did not destroy all the social system on earth between Adam and Noah for some was preserved in the ark to continue that social system after the flood, but the social system that then was before the present one utterly perished. Not one man, bird, or animal was left alive (3:6; Gen. 1:2; Jer. 4:23-26). No reference in Scripture can be found of a change in the heavens and the earth in Noah’s day, as in Adam’s day (Gen. 1:3-2:25). This proves that “the world that then was” had to be before Adam’s day because “the heavens and the earth, which are now” came into existence at that time and not at the time of Noah. There was no man, bird, vegetation, or any other life left after the flood of 2Peter 3:6 and Genesis 1:2. They were made again in the six days (Gen. 2:4-9). That they had been here before Adam is clear from Jeremiah 4:23-26.

There have been and will be a total of three social systems on earth: (1) The pre-Adamite, the one that then was before the present heavens and the earth (3:6); (2) The Adamite sinful social system, from Adam to the new heavens and the new earth (3:7) and (3) the Adamite sinless social system in the new earth (3:13; Isa. 66:22-24; Rev. 21:1-22:5).

Peter taught two distinct ends of two sinful careers of the earth: The world that then was. The pre-Adamite social system had a sinful career or it would not have perished in the flood of 2Peter 3:6; Genesis 1:2; Jeremiah 4:23-26; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11-17 and Matthew 13:35. The present Adamite sinful social system making the present sinful career of the earth. It will come to an end during the Millennium (3:7, 10-13; 1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:7-10). If 2Peter 3:6 pictured Noah’s flood it would be clear, for Peter always mentions Noah or eight persons if he refers to this flood (1Pet. 3:20; 2Pet. 2:5). Others also make it clear when they refer to Noah’s flood (Isa. 54:9; Matt. 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27; Heb. 11:7). There is no doubt of a universal flood before Adam (3:6; Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:5-9). Since God never sends a flood unless judgment is necessary, there must have been a social system to be banished before Adam.

Ignorant

2Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 

‘Ignorant’ [Greek: lanthano] to be unseen or unnoticed. Translated “ignorant of” (3:5, 8); “unawares” (Heb. 13:2); and “be hid” (Mark 7:24; Luke 8:47; Acts 26:26).

‘That by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.’ Things that people are willingly ignorant of: [1] That by the Word of God the heavens were created of old (3:5; Ps. 68:33; 93:2; 102:25; Mic. 5:2). [2] That the earth was established in and out of water (3:5; Ps. 24:2; 136:6). [3] That “the world that then was” refers to the pre-Adamite world or social system which was destroyed by a great universal flood before Adam (3:6; Gen. 1:2; Ps. 104:5-9; Isa. 14:12-14; Jer. 4:23-26; Ezek. 28:11-17). [4] That the heavens and the earth which are now were restored from chaos and judgment about 6,000 years ago in Adam’s day (3:7; Gen. 1:3-2:25). [5] That the heavens and the earth entered their second sinful career through Adam and are now reserved for a second universal renovation (by fire) at the time of the great white throne judgment at the end of the Millennium (3:7, 10-12; Rom. 8:18-25; Heb. 1:10-12; 12:25-28; Rev. 20:7-15). [6] That with God a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years. He inhabits eternity and is not subject to time to get His work done before death as is the case with us (3:8-9; Isa. 57:15; Eph. 3:11). [7] That the Lord is not slack concerning His promises but is longsuffering to all men, wishing that all would come to repentance (3:9; 1Tim. 2:4; Rev. 22:17). [8] That the day of the Lord is to come as a thief in the night, in which day (the end of it) the heavens and the earth will be renovated and made new a third time (3:10-13; Isa. 65:17; 66:22-24; Rev. 21-22). [9] That all rebellion will then be put down (3:13; 1Cor. 15:24-28). [10] That the righteous natural people left on earth after the rebellion of Revelation 20:7-10 will multiply and replenish the new earth forever, carrying out God’s original program for Adam, as would have been done if man had not sinned (3:13; Gen. 1:26-31; 8:22; 9:12; Isa. 9:6-7; 59:20; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 27; Matt. 25:34, 46; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 21:1-22:5). [11] That God will move His capital city from heaven to the earth to dwell with men forever and administer the affairs of the universe from the earth (3:13; Rev. 21:1-22-5). [12] That the resurrected saints, saved from Abel to the Millennium will be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ and will reign as kings and priests on earth helping God administer the affairs of the universe forever (3:13; Ps. 149:5-9; Dan. 7:18-27; Matt. 19:28; Rom. 8:17; 1Cor. 4:8; 6:2; Eph. 2:7; 2Tim. 2:12; 2Thess. 1:4-10; Rev. 1:6; 2:26-27; 5:9-10; 11:15; 12:5; 20:4-6; 22:5).

This ignorance of the Biblical facts is not forced upon man. They are willingly ignorant, preferring to remain in darkness, even scoffing at the second coming of Christ and denying Him who bought them with His own blood (2:1-2; 3:5, 8). They shut their eyes against light and refuse all evidence.

‘By the word of God the heavens were of old’ this refers to God speaking the materials into existence out of which He then formed the heavens and the earth (Heb. 1:10).

‘Standing out of the water and in the water’ this proves the earth was not created all wet as in Genesis 1:2, but dry, then flooded, and later restored to a dry state as in Genesis 1:9-10.

Be Mindful

2Peter 3:1-4 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 

‘This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance’ the second epistle of Peter wherein he exhorts believers to stand true in all kinds of suffering, and to set forth the true grace of God (1Pet. 5:12). In this second epistle Peter foretells conditions of the latter days and shows more fully how the earth will be renovated by fire instead of by water as in the two great universal floods of Lucifer and Noah (3:1-13).

‘Holy prophets’ here Peter classes the writings of the apostles [New Testament authors] as equal in authority to the writings of the holy prophets [Old Testament authors].

‘Knowing this first, that here shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts’ this is the 5th New Testament prophecy in 2Peter that is being fulfilled. One of the signs of the last days that those who mock the Word of God [anyone contradicting, misquoting or disobeying God’s Word] will be living according to their lusts (whatever their sinful natures desire).

‘Where is the promise of his coming?’ one of the promises that mockers use to contradict the Word of God of His promise that He will return. The two comings of the Lord (the rapture and Second Advent) are some of the most practical and fruitful doctrines in Scripture. They are real incentives to holiness (1Jn. 3:1-3), profitable in exhorting to watchfulness and faithfulness (Matt. 24:25; 1Jn. 2:28), patience (Jas. 5:7,8), death to self (Col. 3:3-5), endurance (1Pet. 1:7; 4:13), holy conversation and godliness (2Pet. 3:11-13), soberness anal righteousness (Tit. 2:11-13), consolation (1Thess. 4:13-18), blamelessness (1Cor. 1:4-8), pastoral diligence and purity (1Pet. 5:1-4), sincerity (Php. 1:9, 10), mildness (Php. 4:5, 6), and hope (1Cor. 15). The rapture will be to the saints the beginning of eternal and ever-increasing joy and glory. The second coming will be to Israel and all righteous earthly nations the beginning of eternal and ever-increasing blessing and favour.