Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because
“All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. – 1 Peter 1:23-25.
The Apostle Peter ask his readers to once again consider the relationship to their new birth, and in these verses, to the seed of that birth, “the word of God.”
Peter is emphatic in his statement that the new birth is not brought about by “corruptible seed,” that is, it is not produced in the same way as a physical birth. If you remember, Nicodemus, when talking with Jesus, stumbled over this point (see John 3:1-8). Human life is brought into being by means of seed that must obey physical laws of decay and death. The physical life that is produced has the same quality as the seed from which it sprang; therefore it too is of a temporary character.
The new birth is brought about “through the word of God.” As men hear or read the Bible they are convicted (convinced) of their sins, come to believe deep down that Christ is the sole and sufficient Savior, and so, they are in essence, regenerated anew to God. No one is ever saved apart from the spiritual working in some way due to the incorruptible word of God. It takes the word of God to create new life.
Samuel Ridout notes in The Numerical Bible:
. . . the three “incorruptible” things we have in this first chapter (of 1 Peter)—an incorruptible inheritance (v. 4), an incorruptible redemption (vv. 18, 19), and an incorruptible word by which we are born (v. 23). Thus we have a nature which is taintless, fitted for the enjoyment of a taintless inheritance and on the basis of a redemption which never can lose its value. How the stamp of eternal perfection is upon all, and what a fitting companion to these is that “incorruptible” ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (chapter 3:4).1
Peter wrote, the word of God “lives and abides forever.” Though heaven and earth will one day pass away, God’s word will never pass away. It is settled forever in Heaven. And the life it produces is also eternal. Those who are born anew through the word take on the everlasting character of the word and so they too become everlasting, eternal!
In the human birth, the seed which produces a child contains, within its form, all the characteristics of the child. What the child will eventually be is determined by what is inside that seed. For what we are considering in this teaching, it is enough to see that as the seed is perishable, so is the human life which results from it.
The transitory and temporary character of human nature is emphasized by the quotation from Isaiah 40:6-7. Human life is as impermanent as grass. Physical beauty is as short-lived as the flowers of the field. “The grass withers,” and the flowers droop and die and so, lose their temporary beauty.
James also confirmed this very same point in his letter:
“For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes.” – James 1:11.
However, inn contrast, “the word of the Lord endures forever” (see also Isaiah 40:8). Therefore, the new life of the believer is just as equally incorruptible. This incorruptible word is the message of good news which “was preached” to those whom Peter was writing too and which caused them to be born again. It was and is the source of their eternal life as well as ours once that word is taken to heart.