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The Imperishable Seed in You

by Peter Wade

The miracle of the new birth has been called “the greatest miracle in the world”. I am sure this is true. I am equally sure that most believers do not know just how great it is. That the God who created heaven and earth should want me to be part of His family is extraordinary enough, but that He would place into that spiritual “gift package” all that I need for everything that I will ever run across is generosity and grace indeed. And to discover that His gift to me is perfect and permanent brings joy beyond words.
    When it comes to studying that glorious event known to many as conversion, we do not have to read far into the New Testament to find that the primary illustration employed is that of the birth of a child. God is termed a father and the believers sons and daughters. Conversion is described as a new birth, produced by seed. As a child, the believer is a partaker of the Father’s nature and will always bear a resemblance to the Father. The new birth, being born from above, is described by many terms, but I wish to emphasize the Biblical terminology of the birth.

Born again of seed

   A key verse on this subject is found in I Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through [by] the living and enduring word of God” (NIV). There is surely no doubt that this verse refers to the new birth. What we have here is an accurate description of how God accomplished this miracle. We believed what the Word said, how God raised Jesus from the dead, and we confessed with our mouth Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and the miracle happened — we were “born again”.
    The human family, nearly all the animal kingdom, and a large part of the vegetable kingdom, use seed as the means of propagation. This seed is “perishable”, it is capable of decay. However, the seed that is placed in the believer is declared to be “imperishable”; it will never decay.    Let us next note that the believer is said to be born again “of” imperishable seed, “by” the Word of God. The text does not read, “…which is the Word of God”; yet so many read this into the verse. They do this since they are acquainted with the parable of the sower in the gospel records of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, where the seed is stated to represent the Word of God. But this does not prove that every time we read the word “seed” in the Bible it refers to the Word of God. In the parable of the tares in Matthew 13, the seed is clearly stated to be “the sons of the kingdom” (verse 38). In I Peter 1:23, God uses prepositions with great care to show that the seed is not the Word of God. Vincent’s Word Studies gives this note, “Of (ek) seed — by (dia) the word. Note the difference in the prepositions; the former denoting the origin or source of life, the latter the medium through which it imparts itself to the nature”. We are born again of “imperishable” seed, through [by means of] “the word of God”. That is the clear teaching from I Peter 1:23.
    God’s Word has a distinct part to play. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?… So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:14,17 KJV). No one can experience the new birth unless they have read in the Word of God that it is available and the part they must play in its reception. That part is to believe what God’s Word declares, and when Romans 10:9-10 is acted upon, then the Father places His imperishable seed within the person and they become a child of God.

The word “seed”

Before I go any further into this great subject, I would like to share some scriptures that demonstrate the usage of the word “seed” as applied to spiritual children. (The word is used a number of times in reference to children of earthly parents, and these you can discover for yourself with a concordance.) Let us first note this comment in a passage regarding the promise to Abraham, “Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16). In verse 11, Abraham is called “the father of all who believe”. This is a beautiful figure of speech, teaching that our heritage in believing goes back a long way. It has to be a figure, for other scriptures plainly state that God is our Father — the father is always the one who has contributed the seed.
    A similar passage is found in Galatians 3:28, 29, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” The context is similar to that of Romans 4, that is, law versus believing.
    I John 3:9 declares this outstanding truth, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him…” Vine’s Expository Dictionary states, “The seed signifies the principle of spiritual life as imparted to the believer, which abides in him without possibility of removal or extinction.” We are born again of imperishable seed from God, and that seed remains in the believer.
    The answer of Jesus to Nicodemus in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, will help us understand the nature of the seed. “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again [or, from above]… I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again’ ” (John 3:3, 5-7). Verse 6 makes the truth so plain. “Flesh gives birth to flesh…” It cannot be improved; it will always remain flesh. In fact, there is no process known or available in this age that can change flesh into spirit.
    However, flesh can receive a gift of spirit. This does not change the flesh but it does add a spiritual dimension to the person, for now they are a child of God. “…the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” The gift of spirit does not need improvement; it will always remain spirit. Religion tries to improve the flesh; Christianity is the way of a Father with His family. The one is human; the other is divine. The one is for the earth walk only; the other is eternal.

Christ in you

Christianity has been described as having “Christ in”, and there is truth in that statement. “You, however, are controlled not by the [flesh] but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9 — the NIV incorrectly paraphrases the word “flesh” to “sinful nature”. The Greek text is clearly “flesh”). The Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ refer to the same gift. They are terms of character (the genitive case is used) and draw attention to the nature or character of the one spirit that dwells in every believer. The “Spirit of God” indicates origin; the “Spirit of Christ” indicates union with Him. Any person who does not have this one spirit within is not born again and is not a child of God.
    “The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27). The secret is out — it is “Christ in you”; not the resurrected Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:20), but the Christ-life which is the seed of the Father in all believers. Now perhaps we can better understand Galatians 2:20, “I was crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (KJV). Christ is still at the right hand of the Father, but that Christ-life — with all the love of Christ, and all the power of Christ, and all the authority of Christ — dwells in me. That is a thrilling truth!

The birth of a child of God

Let me share a few more verses about this wonderful event — the birth of a child of God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” (II Corinthians 5:17). That “new creation” is the impartation of spirit, the imperishable seed from the Father. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (I Corinthians 2:12). What a tremendous verse! The spirit which every believer has received is the spirit which is from God. This spirit is God’s gift to us, since it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
    “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). Do you have that Holy Spirit? Yes, every child of God has been given the gift, the seed. And since you are a “partaker of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4), then God can only give you that which He is — holy, eternal, perfect, powerful, unchangeable spirit. What a spiritual “gift package” the Father has given to us!
    “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:6-7). Praise God; that thrills me. The Christ-life contains the family image and the right to the family wealth. Only the children share the family fortune (at least, in God’s kingdom). Now we are to take our position as sons and daughters. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1). Some people are still shocked when I declare that I am a son of God with power. But anything less is a denial of God’s provision through the death of Christ. I am no longer a servant, but a son.
    “And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us… We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit” (I John 3:24; 4:13). Again and again, in the epistles addressed to the churches and in other epistles, the truth is boldly proclaimed, plainly stated, and never doubted, that every believer has been given God’s gift of spirit. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free — and we were all given the one Spirit to drink” (I Corinthians 12:13). We are one body, and our oneness comes from the fact that all believers were given the one spirit to drink, and thus have received, the one gift of spirit.
    Perhaps you feel I am labouring this point, but I would remind you that countless Christians have been taught otherwise, unfortunately lessening the power and effectiveness of the new birth. Some teach that conversion is simply the moment when you make Jesus the Lord of your life, and that you need a second crisis experience to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, as they term it. On the other hand, some teach that every person has this “spark of divinity” in them and the new birth is simply the moment when you become aware of this. I believe both viewpoints are a “put down” of the work of Christ, and the very common former teaching forces believers into a works-conscious religion that inhibits the God-given potential for the more abundant life. I trust I have opened your mind to the possibility of what I find is a simpler, God-glorifying understanding of the new birth or conversion.
    The basic truth that you should seriously consider is that the seed, the spirit in you, is perfect, permanent, and with potential. It is God’s gift that enables everyone who believes to become a child of God. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

The experience known as the new birth has to be something more than just a ticket to the sky. Certainly one of the great aspects of becoming a child of God is the assurance that you will live eternally with the Father. But what about the life here on earth in the now? Has God simply put His seed in us, the Christ-life, and then left us to scrape through as best we can? Surely the Christ-life must include something in addition to the “ticket”.
    Perhaps some of the greatness of the new birth can be seen in this statement in Ephesians 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Then are you blessed? Yes! And to what degree are you blessed? With “every spiritual blessing”. Do you need any more than this?
       I admit that this is one of my favorite verses in the New Testament and I have been known to teach on it at length. I certainly do not believe in basing a doctrine on one verse, but this verse does stand out above many others on this subject. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing. If we can believe God’s Word in Romans 10:9-10, then why not believe His Word in Ephesians 1:3? When some well-meaning Christian tells me I need to receive “the gift of the Holy Spirit” or “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” or “the double portion” or “the second blessing”, I simply tell them I already have it! Either I am “blessed… with all spiritual blessing” or I am not blessed. And if I have it all, according to God’s Word, why should I waste my time and the Lord’s time asking for something I already have? It seems far simpler and more satisfying to believe what God has said.
    So I boldly declare: “I am blessed with heaven’s best.” The careful reader will observe that there is no modifier of the word “every” (“all” KJV) in this verse, and it can then be considered as “all without exception”. There are no spiritual blessings that are now available that I do not have. I have “the gift of righteousness” (Romans 5 :17), I have “peace with God” (Romans 5:1), I have “the love of God” (Romans 5:5), I have “abundant provision of grace” (Romans 5:17), I have “the gift of… eternal life” (Romans 6:23), I have the “glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

Filled with the fulness of God

The first chapter of Ephesians continues by listing many of the “every spiritual blessings” that we received at the new birth. This subject continues in chapters two and three, and you can have a mountain-top experience as you read this section in the light of what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. The great truth reaches a climax in Ephesians 3:19 where it is stated “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”. Can your mind take that in? It must be in the realm of possibility, for we are dealing with God’s Word and He cannot lie. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (I Kings 8:27). This is Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple. Now, in the grace administration, God declares that because of our redemption we are “filled to the measure of all the fulness of God”. (The tense demands the rendering “that ye may be…” but the impact of the context and elsewhere is “you are filled…”)
    Let us go now to the book of Colossians, and as is so often the case, we find Colossians giving added emphasis to the teaching of Ephesians. In the second chapter we read these staggering words, “For in him [Christ, verse 8] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9 KJV). The epistle has already declared earlier that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (Colossians 1:19) — the entire complement of God, not the state of being full but the necessary things which make fullness. Vincent’s Word Studies makes this comment, “The fulness denotes the sum-total of the divine powers and attributes” (on Colossians 1:19). The same word is used in Colossians 2:9. The “heavens, even the highest heaven” cannot contain God, but the sum-total of the divine powers and attributes dwelt permanently in Christ.
    Now let me read verse 10, “and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” — you “are complete in Him…” (KJV). Wait a minute, Paul. Surely you do not mean that as Christ had all the fulness of God, so do I? But what does the Word say? “And you are complete in Him…” Well, perhaps the translation is wrong. Let us check some recent translations: “And in him ye are made full”; “And, by your union with him, you also are filled with it”; “And in Him you have your fulness”; “So you have everything when you have Christ, and you are filled with God through your union with Christ”; “And it is through Him that you also have been made complete”. Well, are you ready to believe the Word of God now? “You are complete in Him.” The word “complete” is closely associated with the word “full”. The Greek text does not say, “You are made full in Him”; rather, “You are in Him, made full.” Verse 9 taught us that in Him dwells the fulness, and since you are in Him and He in you, you are full. And so I boldly declare, “I am complete in Him.” And if I am complete in Him, then you are too, and so is every believer.
    How complete are you? I often say, “I am completely complete.” If the mobile phone battery is fully charged, then it is full; it cannot take any more. In the same way, since the believer is blessed with all spiritual blessing, filled with all the fulness of God, and complete in Him, there cannot be room for any more. I do not have room for the “second blessing” or the “double portion” even if there were such things available. Since the Word says I am blessed, then I am blessed. Since the Word says I am full, then I am full. Since the Word says I am complete, then I am complete. I did not receive the gift of eternal life, only to find that I needed yet to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”, and then to discover that there were another nine “gifts” of the spirit to follow! Is it not simpler and more satisfying to believe what God has said?

Our competence

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence [“sufficiency” KJV] comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant — not of the letter [the law] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Corinthians 3:5-6). How thankful I am that the Word does not say, “Our lack is from God.” It is very clear, “Our sufficiency is from God…”; “our competency”, “our ability”, as some recent translations render the word. God has made us sufficient or competent for every situation that we will ever run across. His sufficiency is our efficiency. Since we are blessed with every spiritual blessing, then we are surely competent to meet all of life’s situations with confidence and boldness. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ…” (II Corinthians 2:14). “Not somehow — but triumphantly.”
    “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant…” A person might be an “able” (KJV) minister in carrying out the duties of his religion, but here God tells us that He “made us competent ministers of a new covenant.” Every believer is a “competent minister” as they manifest the indwelling power of God to meet the needs of those around them. This is possible, not because of their training or tradition, but because their “competence comes from God” — they are blessed, and full, and complete.
    In II Corinthians 8:9 there is another verse and it is so well known that perhaps we have missed part of its great impact. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Since you have accepted the result of Christ’s work upon the cross, the Christ-life, then God describes you as being rich. And we have just started to see how very rich is the gift of God. Blessed, full, complete, sufficient, triumphant — how rich indeed is every believer, every child of God!

“All things”

God is not poor, and He does not want you, His child, to be poverty stricken. The Father has provided the best for you. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work… You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (II Corinthians 9:8, 11). “All things [sufficiency] at all times” is the Father’s promise to you. Again, there is no modifier of the word “all” and so it is in the sense of “all without exception”, not one part of your life is missed. No wonder this great truth “will result in thanksgiving to God”. Can you open your mind to the great possibilities of dynamic Christian living that the Father is revealing in all these verses? This is God’s idea of a “normal Christian life”.
    “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). There are those two marvellous words again, “all things”. Is anything missed? “And with this gift how can he fail to lavish upon us all he has to give”, is one recent translation. Notice also the words “with him”; the “all things” have been received and are always held and enjoyed in union with Christ. We have the gift of spirit, of eternal life, the Christ-life, and along with that gift He has given us “all things”. It is no wonder that believers can declare, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
    Here is another powerful scripture concerning the “all things”, “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (I Corinthians 3:21b-23). Twice in this passage the truth is stated in terms you cannot misunderstand — everything belongs to you, because you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
    And yet another passage with those embracing words, “all things” — “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything [all things] for our enjoyment” (I Timothy 6:17). God wants you to have enjoyment or benefit from the “all things” He has provided. Here are some recent translations of the last phrase, “Who gives us in full measure all things for our use”; “Who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy”; “Who generously gives us everything”. When the Father blessed us with all spiritual blessing, it was so that we could use it and thus enjoy it.

You are who God says you are

To those who feel I am painting too rosy a picture of a Christian, I can only quote this, “For we are God’s workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10). Since He made me His child by placing His seed within me, then I am going to believe what the Maker says about His product. “His workmanship are we…” is a better translation. All around I see Christian believers living below par, and I am convinced that one of the great reasons is that nobody has pointed out to them what God says they are. I bought a gospel record some time ago, and one of the numbers starts with these words, “I’m only human…” What a “put down” for the atoning work of Christ! In some churches the members repeat every Sunday, “Lord, have mercy on us, miserable offenders…” How rare it is to hear the preacher announce as his text, “You are the righteousness of God in Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21 KJV). Too often it is a text such as Psalm 51:7, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow”, and then as a final hymn the believers stand and with loud voice proclaim, “O that my load of sin were gone, O that I could at last submit…” With that kind of diet, it is no wonder that weak and sickly Christians abound, and so few want to join them!
    We have a glorious Saviour, Who provided a glorious salvation to all who will to believe. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who created heaven and earth, has put His seed within us and loaded us with every spiritual blessings. Every Christian has everything they will ever need — and so much more that the mind can scarcely take it in, let alone comprehend it. Read this article again and discover afresh the thrill and excitement of being a child of God. Bed these truths firmly in your mind, hold fast to the faithful Word of God, and learn how to benefit from the Christ-life dwelling within.

This page Copyright © 2000 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/. Check out our Bookstore.

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