This .beautiful, passage of Scripture calls .attention to the living hope that is ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. More particularly it admonishes us concretely to live in this hope as this is manifested in a walk of conversion, the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new man. The central manifestation of such a walk of hope and conversion is in the fervency of the brotherly love that we have for one another. In this fervency of love we see love perfected. Sanctification will thus be finished and completed in the fear of God. 

Shall this conversion be a reality in our life then our souls must be purified in the obedience to the glad truth of the gospel, namely, that we have received doubly from the hand of the Lord for all of our sins. God has constituted us His people. We are His “regenerated ones”. And to us, who are thus reborn, and who greatly see the need of the forgiveness of sins, this great and solid comfort of God is directed. This comfort is the incentive to walk in thankfulness and in all good works of hope and the joy of everlasting immortality. 

Thus the admonition to walk in all love and hope, manifesting itself in conversion, is well-founded. The admonition does not tell us to become what we are not, but it enjoins us to live out to the full what we are. We are to hope perfectly for the grace which is brought us in the revelation of Jesus Christ in the last day. 

This is a great mystery of godliness. It shall always supersede our comprehension just how the Holy Spirit constitutes us what we are. But we rest assured that this great reality is ours, and such, that because of it, we love and serve our Savior. 

This does not mean that we cannot form some conception of this work of God whereby He constitutes us concretely His “regenerated ones”. On the contrary, we are told by Peter rather accurately how God works this grace of being regenerated ones. He does this not simply to satisfy our curiosity but rather that he may incite us to the working out of our salvation, knowing that it is God, Who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Are we not constituted conscious regenerated ones exactly by means of the word of God as it is proclaimed by prophets and apostles? Does not God work the grace of conversion in us through the exhortation of the glad tidings? While Peter is teaching concerning this work of God, he is at once also bringing this word of God as the glad tidings. He is writing the very word of God that is living and abiding. Let us put off the shoes from our feet, and draw near. 

The apostle tells us that our being concretely, consciously “reborn ones” is “out of incorruptible seed through the living and abiding word of God”. And to prove this Peter quotes Isaiah 40:6, 7, where we read: “Therefore that all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of it (man) as the flower of grass; the grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever.” And to this Peter adds the explanatory note: “and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Concerning these elements we would like to make a few remarks: 

In the first place, we call attention to the element in the text that speaks concerning the truth that our being concretely reborn ones is ours of incorruptible seed. We should bear in mind that the apostle here contrasts two kinds of seeds, to wit, corruptible and incorruptible seed. The former is, no doubt, in the light of the context which speaks of all “flesh” the seed from which 6ur natural birth springs forth in the womb of our mother. This is corruptible seed coming forth from corruptible man. It is the seed of flesh from which flesh is born. It is the birth of which Nicodemus at first thought that Jesus was speaking. The seed that is corruptible is, therefore, the seed of man. From this our earthly human nature comes forth as we eat and drink, bring forth children, and die. It is corruptible seed. Not so is the seed from which we are constituted the concrete reborn ones, so that we are constituted incorruptible, and undefiled and such that never fade away. That is incorruptible seed. 

What is this incorruptible seed? 

We know that this seed is not corruptible. It will never die or fade away. Such is the case with all other seeds. Such is the lot of the grass and flowers. Their inward power aid strength is such, that it fades away and is corrupted. It does not have the power to extenuate life and existence. And the reason for this is that “the Spirit of the Lord blows upon it.” God’s breath destroys it. But this “seed” is such that it is caused by the breath of God. He puts such a principle in us through the Holy Spirit that it never fades away. It is a “seed” because it is a life’s principle that must develop, grow. and unfold! It is perpetual growth that shall endure in immortality and life and glory.

Out of this seed we are regenerated ones! 

Of this implication of seed all are agreed that study the Bible. But not all agree on the relationship of the phrases “out of incorruptible seed” and “through the living and abiding word of God.” 

Calvin interprets “seed” to be the same as the “word of God”, or at least it is the “word of God” from the viewpoint that the word of God is fruitful in our life. Writes he “for the gospel is not preached that it may only be heard by us, but that it may as the seed of immortal life altogether reform our hearts.” On the other hand Culbertson interprets the relation of “incorruptible seed” and the “word of God” as being such that “the seed” denotes evidently the vital principle of grace, the new nature, the restored image. It is the same with what John means when he says “his seed remaineth in him” I John 3:9. The word is set forth as the instrument by which the seed is implanted.” 

We rather agree with the interpretation which takes “seed” in the sense of newly implanted life of Christ. In the first place because, as is evident from I John 3:9, this presentation is very Scriptural. In that passage too our being concretely born again ones is ours of seed. It is a new principle of life. In the second place because this follows from the contrast of corruptible and incorruptible seed. If the one is a principle of life so is the other. In the third place because it hardly seems that we have here the “seed” in the sense of the parable in Matthew 13, the parable of the sower. Wherefore we do not interpret “seed” to be identical with the word of God. 

Nor do we believe that this “seed” is implanted by the word of God, as the preached word. Rather the word, that is preached, causes the principle of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts to reveal itself in the reborn life of faith and hope in God: Hence it is out of the incorruptible seed and through, by means of the word of God, as this is brought to us in the preaching of the gospel tidings and its practical implications. 

Peter says that the word, which by the gospel is preached unto us, is a word that emphatically came to us as glad tidings. Literally this is a gospelized word. It is a word that is therefore brought as good tidings in the Cross of Christ. Thus it is spoken of in the most glowing terms in Isaiah 40:9 “O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the mountain: O Jerusalem that bringeth good tidings, life up thy voice with strength: lift it up be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah; Behold, your God!” And again inIsaiah 40:28-30 we read “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no seaiching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that hath no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall be faint and weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” 

Such is the glad tidings to “my people”, the elect pilgrim saints in the midst of this world, looking for the heavenly fatherland. 

This is the glad tidings that were preached to the Galatians by the apostle Paul on his missionary journeys. He preached to them the glad tidings of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This word came to them as the word announcing the fulfillment of the great promise of God. He has brought our salvation making Himself known in the working of the power of His might in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He exalted every valley and made every mountain and hill low; He made the crooked straight and the rough places plain. And in this all He revealed the matchless greatness of the infinite glory of His grace and truth. And concerning this great work the preaching resounded. And the Lord wrought with the preachers, performing signs and wonders, working mightily in the hearts of all His own. And so by means of this preaching God the Father wrought great faith and hope, in the hearts of those who are the elect strangers. He called them mightily by means of the preaching out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. 

Thus He very concretely brought them forth by the word as the reborn ones, to be some first fruits of His creation. 

And, O, what He has begun He will surely finish by the same word of His power in the gospel. For the gospel is not a passing thing that loses its potency in the hearts of the redeemed through the Spirit, but it is living and abiding. It is a living word and not a dead powerless word. It is a word that gives light and joy to the soul. It is a power of God unto salvation in the heart of every believing one. It causes the one in whom the seed is placed by God to become a believing one. It is that power that breaks down all our prejudices in the knowledge that the love of God was so great to us in forgiveness that we ought to love one another. And it is a word too that “remains” forever and ever. It remains not simply in the static sense. But it remains in all its living power to work faith in our hearts. Such is the idea of the term employed in the original Hebrew in Isaiah 40:8. The term means to arise, and is associated with verbs of going, going forward. Hence, it means to increase, or to flourish. Prov. 28:12. And so it is, applied to the word of God, indicative of an abiding, a staying power, that goes forth conquering and to conquer. It brings us from one conquest over sin and the devil to another. By this living and life-giving and joy-affording word God makes us love each other fervently. He so enjoins us in the text before us. For the admonitions and exhortations and threatenings of the gospel are living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, passing in to the dividing asunder of the marrow and bones, and is a discerner of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. 

Well may the admonition be sounded by the apostle in Chapter 2, that we lay aside all malice and all guile, hypocrisies and envies, and all evil speakings! For these are not the manifestations of our being regenerated ones out of incorruptible seed, by the living and abiding word of God. Such is not a walk of gratitude in obedience to the gospel of glad tidings. 

Let us walk in the obedience to the truth of the glad tidings of good things. 

Such is the walk of conversion springing forth from the living hope of the reborn saints.