“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…”
1 Peter 1:23
This is a powerful quote that appears here in the book of 1 Peter but what message is the author Peter trying to convey here that those he is speaking to (the elect exiles in 1 Peter 1:1) can be born again? Furthermore, what is this “imperishable” seed?
This quote, in verse 23, is to emphasize the point that Peter made earlier in this chapter in verses 3-5, which reads: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The language is very similar in this earlier section as those who are born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, can obtain an imperishable inheritance. However, the question still remains as to how someone can be born again? This was exactly the question that Nicodemus, a Pharisee, asked Jesus in John chapter 3 and verse 4 but we have the perfect answer in verse 5, which reads: Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…”
So, we have the answer that there are two aspects here, where to be born of water is through baptism and the Spirit is by God’s power and grace. These points apply directly to 1 Peter 1 but what is this imperishable seed?
The imperishable seed was taken from the promises to Abraham, who is deemed the patriarch of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, where in Genesis chapter 17, we read that God made a covenant with Abraham. This covenant was like none other as it affects all nations, whereby if we become of the seed of Abraham, we will be a part of an everlasting covenant. This was confirmed to us in Paul’s letter to the Galatians in chapter 3, verses 16-18: The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
So, by the living and abiding word of God, we can have a hope of being imperishable and this will happen when the Lord Jesus will return to set up the Kingdom to come. The kingdom is a whole topic in itself and it is truly is a time to look forward to as unlike the world today, God will no longer allow pain, crying or suffering but everlasting life as death will be no more (see Revelation chapter 21). This is reinforced in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and verses 50-53, which reads: I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
This is for the purpose that we will be able to overcome the sting and power of sin, which results in death by the grace of God who gives us this victory through his Son the Lord Jesus. Baptism is essential for salvation as it gives us a hope of being a part of the Kingdom to come. It does not matter what your past was as God can forgive any and all of it if we let Him. We must strive to want to serve Him as Jesus laid down His life for all of us to give us all the chance.