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.’
The gospel is not an exhortation to well-meaning people, inviting us to add a little religion to our lives. God’s word comes to the rebel heart and commands obedience. It is a word that brings the dead to life.
How is this work accomplished? Only by God’s Spirit. It is the Spirit’s work to achieve what cannot be done in any other way, by any other means: to bring about new life.
By nature, we are all rebels against God. No one seeks after Him (Romans 3:11). Even if I call myself an agnostic or a seeker or open-minded, in reality I am rebelling. And God “commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). God calls every one of us to do an about-turn—to turn decisively from sin and rebellion and to come under His rule.
Apart from a miracle, we cannot do this. Left to ourselves, we are dead and without hope for eternity. Thankfully, it is the very task of God’s Spirit to perform that miracle for us. New life is something God achieves, not something we engender. The Spirit convicts us of sin and convinces us that Jesus, by His death on the cross, has dealt with it.
Scripture is absolutely clear on this: when we were dead in our sins, we were made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5). The Spirit brings us to understand what by ourselves we are unprepared to face—namely, that we have a deep, endemic problem we cannot fix. We need a miracle. And that’s what God does. He brings about new life. He saves us by His grace.
Everything about us fades; like the grass, Peter reminds us, all of us will one day fall. But there is a seed which produces that which is imperishable, which is planted in us by the Spirit and which will bloom and thrive for all eternity: the life that has been born anew through the gospel. The word of God remains forever, and so does the one who has been brought to new life as the Spirit works through it.
Once that has happened to us, we no longer see the Bible merely as some history book or inspiring story. By the work of the Spirit, it becomes a light, illuminating true life, and our eyes are opened to understand who God is. This is why we study the Bible: to better see and know the one who has saved us and with whom we will spend eternity.
So, may the love of Jesus draw you to Him. May the joy of Jesus enable you to serve Him. May the peace and contentment that comes in knowing Jesus grant to you stability and clarity as you reflect on where you’ve been, consider where you are, and meditate upon where you are headed. Your earthly flesh will fall; but you will remain forever.