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THEOLOGY > Future > The Believer in Eternity > No Sin 


But according to His promise
we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
II Pet. 3:13

A world without sin—what an unimaginable thought! There is no reference point for such contemplation. It is a reality that is never experienced and has never been experienced since Eden. No sin—the very concept does not compute.

With the exception of Adam and Eve, and even then for a very brief period, all individuals have experienced sin both personally and corporately from the beginning of their lives until their death. No one has been immune from the ravages of sin internally nor free from the devastating effects of evil from other individuals or from the forces of nature. To live is to be sinful and to be affected by sin. Evil is a dilemma (see: The Problem of Evil).

For the believer who has been informed by Revelation (see: Revelation), there is the prediction of a place and time when evil will not control because only goodness will be present: “But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (II Pet. 3:13). The follower of Christ is waiting and longing for something new—a new earth, a new society—that will be characterized by righteousness.

“Righteousness” describes and defines the coming age: there will be righteousness as opposed to the evil that dominates this age. Righteousness means that evil people will not be a part of the new earth; they will be confined to another place. The Scriptures are emphatic: “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Rev. 21:27). Nothing unclean, meaning an unbeliever, which affirms that no one of an evil heart and who commits evil deeds will be allowed entrance to the new earth. So no sinners and no sin will characterized the new earth. Other passages confirm these truths:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9-10);

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:19-21);

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God (Eph. 5:5);

The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death (Rev. 21:3-4);

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood (Rev. 22:14-15).

Peter affirms that “we are waiting” (II Pet. 3:18). The believer is “waiting” because the believer must wait; he must wait because he cannot bring that day to pass, the day when there will be no more sin. If evil comes to an end, or rather, when evil comes to an end it will be accomplished by the One who is sovereign over all (see: God is Sovereign). Man cannot create a peaceful and righteous society because man cannot change man—only God can affect the heart.

Satan and man introduced sin into the universe, but it will be God who brings it to an end. The termination of evil is the act of God—this fact affirms that the solution to evil is not found within creation but outside of creation. According to the above text it is for “His promise” that the believer is waiting, waiting because only God can bring to pass the content of the promise. The promise is “His” because man cannot make such a prediction.

The distinguishing mark of heaven will not be a particular location,
but a condition of blessedness, sinlessness, joy, and peace.
Millard Erickson

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever,   and my righteousness will never be dismayed. Listen to me, you who know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear not the reproach of man, nor be dismayed at their revilings. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations (Isa. 51:6-8).

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