What Does 1 Peter 1:23 Mean?

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

1 Peter 1:23(NASB)

Verse of the Day

We all love to think of the apostle Peter as the blustery young fisherman whose energy and enthusiasm often caused him to make rash promises which, all too often, brought him crashing down into the traumatic reality of his own inability, sinfulness, and pride.

But as we read through his two epistles, we recognise a beautiful maturity and godly wisdom which descended on this beloved, ageing apostle, as he records his deepened understanding of our privileged position in Christ. He outlines the godly conduct that should be evident in the lives of all who are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom Peter confessed as the Messiah of Israel and Son of the living God.

As he begins his first epistle, we recognise that the reverential awe and wonder that Peter must have felt when he met with his resurrected Lord and received His commission to: "Feed my sheep." He recalls the great mercy and protective power of God towards His blood-bought children, and the incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that is ours in Christ.

He reminds us that our security rests firmly on the never-changing veracity of the eternal and inerrant Word of God: "For you have been born again... not of seed which is perishable, but of imperishable SEED - that is, through the living and enduring WORD OF GOD."

We were brought into the world through the perishable seed of our earthly parents, which is subject to death. We were born into this world through works of the flesh. We were born dead in trespasses and sins and estranged from God. But by faith in the finished work of Christ, we have been born anew - born from above - born of the Spirit - born again. We have been born again of imperishable Seed through the power of the Holy Spirit - and the imperishable Seed is the Word of God.

We have been given a new nature as part of our new life in Christ. We have been made part of God's new creation and positioned in Him. He is the federal Head of an entirely new race of humanity which will stretch through time and into eternity, for old things have passed away and all things have become new.

We have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ and there are numerous other eternal privileges and promises that have been given to us as a free gift of God's grace - by faith in Him.

Our physical birth was the result of perishable, human seed which must adhere to physical, fleshly laws of death, deterioration, and decay. However, the incorruptible, spiritual Seed is the living Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and new birth happens when the truth of God's Word is translated from intellectual, head knowledge into confident, heart faith through the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit of God.

In the parable of the sower we discover that the Seed is the Word of God and in this passage, Peter restates this truth: "You have been born again of imperishable Seed - which is through the living and enduring Word of God."

It is when men and women are convicted of their sin that they realise their need of a Saviour. The heavens declare the glory and perfection of God, and man's conscience declares him imperfect and guilty. However, the means of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is found in the Word of God.

We are all sinners and the wages of sin is death - but God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to be the substitute for man's sin so that by faith in Him, we may be born again into newness of life and transferred from the fallen race of sinful Adam into a new creation of the eternal Christ.

By grace through faith, we receive an incorruptible salvation, together with an incorruptible inheritance through the incorruptible Word of God which is living, powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. The incorruptible Word of God abides forever and is able to discern the inner heart and motives of every man - even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. The incorruptible Word of God is able to discern the very thoughts and motivations of the heart, and we should listen to all that it says.

As perishable offspring of our fallen, mortal parents, we were given certain inherent characteristics. Similarly, as the born-again, spiritual seed of the living, eternal Word of God, we are being conformed into the image of Christ and will be transformed into His very likeness, for He is the living Word of God - and when we see Him, we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the amazing truth that I have been born again by the incorruptible Seed of the Word of God. Thank You for those people in my life that introduced me to the written Scriptures. And thank You that by grace through faith in Christ, I have been born into Your family and have an incorruptible salvation, together with an incorruptible inheritance. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of David Carden

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