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23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

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23 Being born again Here is another reason for an exhortation, — that since they were new men and born again of God, it behoved them to form a life worthy of God and of their spiritual regeneration. And this seems to be connected with a verse in the next chapter respecting the milk of the word, which they were to seek, that their way of living might correspond with their birth. It may, however, be extended wider, so as to be connected also with what has gone before; for Peter collected together those things which may lead us to an upright and a holy life. The object, then, of Peter was to teach us that we cannot be Christians without regeneration; for the Gospel is not preached, that it may be only heard by us, but that it may, as a seed of immortal life, altogether reform our hearts. 1818     Most commentators, like Calvin, represent the seed as the word; but the construction does not admit this; the words are, “Having been begotten from a seed, not corruptible, but incorruptible, through the living word of God, and for-ever abiding.” The “seed” denotes evidently the vital principle of grace, the new nature, the restored image of God; it is the same with what John means when he says,
   “His seed (that is, of God) remaineth in him.” (1 John 3:9.)

   Then “the word” is set forth as the means or instrument by which this seed is implanted. The “living” here does not mean life-giving, as some interpret it, but stands opposed to what ceases to be valid: and “for-ever abiding” more fully expresses its meaning. The metaphor in the parable of the sower is quite different: the word there is compared to a seed sown on bad or good ground; but here the turning of a bad into a good ground is the subject; and in this process the word is employed as an instrument. — Ed.
Moreover, the corruptible seed is set in opposition to God’s word, in order that the faithful might know that they ought to renounce their former nature, and that it might be more evident how much is the difference between the children of Adam who are born only into the world, and the children of God who are renewed into a heavenly life. But as the construction of the Greek text is doubtful, we may read, “the living word of God,” as well as, “the word of the living God.” As, however, the latter reading is less forced, I prefer it; though it must be observed, that the term is applied to God owing to the character of the passage. For, as in Hebrews 4:12, because God sees all things, and nothing is hid from him, the apostle argues that the word of God penetrates into the inmost marrow, so as to discern thoughts and feelings; so, when Peter in this place calls him the living God, who abides for ever, he refers to the word, in which the perpetuity of God shines forth as in a living mirror.




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