“…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed
but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
‘All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.’
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
1 Peter 1:23–25.(ESV)
We are all familiar with broken promises and unrealized expectations. In 2002 after the major change in national leadership, Kenyans were ranked as the most optimistic people in Africa. A short 5 years after that we were a divided nation at war with each other. It is no surprise that not many were too optimistic about the Canaan that we were being promised in the last elections. It is right to harbor some pessimism when promises come from people belonging to the tribe of Adam, it is altogether a different thing when it comes to the things that God has spoken. Peter, writing to saints that were under the constant assault of external and internal pressure, aims to assure the saints that as they strive for holiness awaiting their hope with patience they are not striving in vain for they were born again, not of perishable but of imperishable seed — the living and abiding word of God.
Doubt can linger in our hearts that we will ever grow in holiness or make it home safely because the truth that all flesh is like grass is all too abundantly evident around us and in us. The things that appear most beautiful and strong in this world are but a mist. Unreliable, ever corroding and decaying, both physically and spiritually. The people of God however are not like that, you are not like that. Even though you, like Israel, are flesh, you have been re-born. The God who once spoke the world into existence has spoken again and you and I were born again and what we have become (born again), is more in line with the life of obedient conduct that we are being called to than the sinful conduct of our past.
The nature of God’s Word is in focus here. The new life that Peter is calling us to live out in holiness and love did not come about through some political promises. Our transformation came about through the living and abiding Word of God. We were “born again to a living hope 1:3, because we were born again by the living and abiding word 1:23. The quality in view here is the ability to bring about what is said. In the beginning of time the issue at hand was speaking the world into existence, in this case it is your new life. The enduring reality of our new life, created and sustained by God’s Word is the reason why you and I are able to take steps forward into a deeper life of obedience, a new life that is distinct from the life of our old selves, a new life that might not be as evident in our current struggles, but a new life nonetheless that will be unveiled in fullness on That Day. Nothing can undo that which God has brought forth through His Word. His word defines us more than our struggles and His Word concerning us will have the final say. For the exiles who were being battered by their world and facing the internal fight against the passions of the old man, it was important that they remember what stock they were from, it was the “kind” that simply never fails.
What God has spoken will come to pass, that includes what he has said about our future salvation but it also includes what He has called us to in our present transformation. The Church might not look too impressive in her current state (nor did Israel when these words were quoted to them in Isaiah 40) but we press on seeking the transformation that we have been called to, knowing that the Word that begun a work in us when we were born again will not fail us now, for it is the living and abiding Word, the Word of the Lord which endures forever.
- Are you encouraged or discouraged about your ability to grow in obedience? Prayerfully search your heart to see who and what you are depending on for strength to obey.
- What habits would characterize a saint whose confidence was singularly in the character of God’s Word? What do your habits reveal about where you have placed your confidence?
- Pray that our congregation would grow in its confidence in the Word of God