having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (1Peter 1:23)
I was recently doing a little research on our 1820 settlers, who endured near-starvation as a result of the rust disease contained in the government issue wheat seed which decimated their first three harvests. It brought home the truth of this today’s verse, the difference between corruptible seed and incorruptible seed. Every aspect of life is governed by the sprititual principle of harvest – of sowing and reaping – and the nature of the seed is critical to the nature of fruit that emerges.
Jesus Himself is the life that empowers the incorruptible seed.
It’s hardly surprising that the world continually produces and promotes teachings, philosophies, and religions that deny the spiritual truth that man is inherently corrupt. They teach of self-development, of releasing our inner potential, and sometimes even on ‘releasing the god within us.’ The driving principle behind all of these is that we contain the seed of perfection which only needs to be nurtured and released in order for us to achieve excellence on all levels. The real truth, however, is that we are born not only into a corrupt world, but contain the corrupt seed of Adam. We can deny the truth of inherent in and sugar-coat it with all kinds of motivational and psychological niceties, but it does not alter the truth that incorruptible seed is only possible through the life and sacrifice of Jesus.
This transformation – from corruptible to incorruptible – is only possible through the spiritual phenomenon we call ‘born again.’ Because the nature of the seed determines the ‘final product,’ it is essential that the seed not only be replaced, but that we are ‘re-conceived’ in this incorruptible seed. We have to be spiritually reborn in order to be freed from the inheritance of all that is corruptible. This is a vital element of the cross and all that Jesus achieved. Victory in our spiritual life starts at the very beginning, in the germination of the seed that gives us life. This is the very foundation of life in Christ.
A unique characteristic of the incorruptible seed is that it’s eternal. Unlike the corruptible seed of the world through Adam, which is finite, our new birth in Christ bring life eternal. This is a defining characteristic because it operates in the spiritual, not the natural. From the moment we are born again, our lives are determined by spiritual principles, not natural. When the Bible talks of being set free by Christ, this directly related to the truth that we live in the spirit because the seed from which we receive life is spiritual and eternal.
God desires that we life in the full measure of freedom we receive through and in Christ. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have sent His Son to purchase it for us with His blood. But how many of us live ‘fully free?’ To do so, we must first fully comprehend the height, width, and depth of that freedom, and that can only happen once we fully see – the harsh light of reality – what we are set free from. Romans provides a wonderful journey through the issue of sin and its consequences. It’s a no-holds-barred, tell-it-like it is description of the real spiritual condition and the repercussions of corruptible seed. This is the darkness that creates the real backdrop for the light of the incorruptible seed.
We need only look through the annals of history – and all around is in our present age – to see the obvious evidence that the natural world is filled with sin, corruption, vice, arrogance, greed… The list is seemingly endless. These things, and the havoc they wreak on humankind, are evidence of the seed that empowers them. The corruptible seed contains decay, disease, corruption, suffering, and hopelessness. That is its defining nature. It is doomed to destruction, taking us along with it. It is darkness and despair. The incorruptible seed, however, lifts us out of this into the kingdom of light and truth. It brings hope, faith, love, and eternal joy.
It’s worth reading Romans on a regular basis as a reminder of just what we have escaped from through God’s infinite grace. If we remind ourselves of the darkness, we will begin to see the full measure of light and life contained in the incorruptible seed. The power and ability to walk in freedom in Christ is His life in us and our lives in Him. When we are born again, we are essentially given an entirely new life, a life that is opposite, separate, and distinct from the life that drives the world. It’s not simply substitution. It’s complete replacement and transformation\
Because we life in Christ and He lives in us, our freedom in Him is absolute. We no longer have to respond the way the world does. We don’t have to subscribe to worldly rules, conventions, or expectations. We are empowered to live beyond these by the incorruptible seed from which our new life springs. There is nothing that the world can throw at us that can alter this essential, eternal, spiritual truth. We are made new, entirely and completely.
Of course, at the same time, we are also very human. We’re creatures of patterns and habits, of long-established thought patterns and responses. We operate through subtle triggers that are learned over time and which become ingrained in the fabric of who we are. All these things – the things of flesh and self – continually bombard us with demands to conform to the old worldly ways which previously governed our lives. One of the fundamental principles through which the incorruptible seed works in and through us is the truth that the spiritual is able to alter and define our natural reality. We no longer are ‘slaves’ to the old nature. We are set free. We do not have to follow the old ways or succumb to the old temptations or weaknesses.
Learning to live in the freedom of Christ – the full measure of the incorruptible seed – means we first have to grab hold of the absolute truth that it is incorruptible. To understand this, it’s helpful to consider Christ’s life here on earth. Though fully man because He laid aside His glory and majesty and lowered Himself to the level of you and I in order to become the perfect sacrifice, He lived the reality of the incorruptible seed. He was tempted by the devil, just as we are. He endured the same pressures we do. He faced the same difficulties, emotions, and situations as us. But in all these things, He walked in the incorruptible reality of the spiritual life.
Incorruptible simply means that it cannot be corrupted. Now that’s freedom. It’s the absolute assurance that, no matter what happens, the life in us – the life that is Jesus Himself – cannot be corrupted. We sin, we fall, we give in because we’re human and weak. But the essential life remains incorruptible. If we walk with God, love God, serve God, are willing to continually come to Him in humility and repentance, and allow Him to move in us to transform us and deliver us, we cannot be corrupted.
That is a powerful gift. It is the seed that births our victory of the self and the world, and ultimately over the devil. Satan delighted in the opportunity to corrupt the seed at the cross, to cut it off, to prevent the spiritual ‘germination’ of the full freedom God intends for us. He would like to do the same today. If he can suppress the germination of the new life, if he can smother the incorruptible seed, he will do so by any means possible because he knows he can never corrupt it. It’s beyond his power to do so. The best he can hope for is to keep us ignorant of the immense power and freedom it can bring to our lives.
Be encouraged today to grab hold of an incredible truth. We are utterly and completely set free in Christ. No matter what our struggles, the new life in us is inviolate. We are born of an incorruptible seed, one which guarantees our victory because it provides the freedom to live it. It is a seed that is eternal, because it’s the divine life of Jesus Himself.
Lord, thank You for Your infinite grace, and for replacing the corruptible seed of Adam with the incorruptible seed of Christ. Help us to grasp this truth and to begin to life the reality of complete freedom in Jesus from the bondage of the world. Help us to share this truth to others through word and deed, and to celebrate daily the glorious truth that You have given us Your life so that we may be victorious.