What does 1 Peter 1:23 mean?
ESV: since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;
NIV: For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
NASB: for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable, but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
CSB: because you have been born again--not of perishable seed but of imperishable--through the living and enduring word of God.
NLT: For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
KJV: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
In the previous verse, Peter charged his readers to love each other deeply or earnestly from pure hearts. He connects that command to the reminder that, as Christians, we have been born again. It's an odd thought, when first read. When Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3 that nobody can see God's kingdom unless they are born again, Nicodemus recognized the figure of speech. He saw that this was biologically impossible. Jesus made it clear that He was referring to a spiritual birth.
Being born physically does not make us alive spiritually. In fact, Paul wrote that we all start out spiritually dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). God is the one who makes us alive when we come to Him through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:5–9). Peter wrote at the beginning of this chapter that God had caused his believing readers to be born again. So, as Christians who have been born again, we now have the ability to love each other with spiritually alive hearts. We can do this with all our might and complete sincerity.
This spiritual birth leads to a life that will never end. Physical birth results from a seed that dies eventually. But the new birth springs from an undying seed, through God's undying word. What is this "word of God"? In verse 25, Peter will tell us it is the good news that has been preached to us. We sometimes call it the gospel. It is the message from God that He will forgive our sins and make us spiritually alive forever in Christ.
1 Peter 1:13–25 describes how Christians—those God has caused to be born again—should live now. We must mentally engage in setting all of our hope in God’s future grace for us. We must choose to act as those who are God’s own people, rejecting the evil desires that drove our actions before we knew better. Our choices matter. Our God placed a high value on our lives, paying for them with the blood of Christ. Since God has made us able, we must now strive to earnestly give love to each other.
Peter, the apostle of Jesus, writes a letter to Christians facing persecution to comfort them with the truth of who they are in Christ—children of God with every reason to rejoice in their salvation and future glory in eternity. Next, he urges them to live like the holy ones of God they already are by obeying God now, loving each other earnestly, and placing all of their hope in the endless life to come.
This beautiful, profound, and challenging first chapter of 1 Peter lays the foundation for the rest of Peter’s letter. In spite of whatever suffering we may face, God Himself has already shown us great mercy in Christ by including us in His family! Jesus is our living hope. Our future is secure and endless and perfect. As the children of God we have every reason to rejoice, even in this present darkness. Peter then calls us to prepare ourselves to live as the holy people God has made us to be.
Some 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus, Christians are facing greater persecution for their faith. How should they respond? How should we respond to suffering today? The apostle Peter writes this letter both to comfort believers and to encourage them to stay strong. He urges them to put all their hope in their perfect future with Christ, and to obey and trust Him in the present, even in their suffering. Christ suffered greatly; now the Christ-followers have the opportunity to follow Him even in this, showing His grace and power in their hopefulness, obedience, and faith.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:30:24 AM
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