“For you have been born again, not from a perishable seed, but imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
It was Jesus who first used the term “born again” and His use of the expression describes the spiritual transaction that takes place when a man is convicted of sin, truly repents, has faith in God, trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ and receives the Holy Spirit. We can look to the natural to see where this being “born again” leaves us.
A new human being, the moment he is born, is not a finished product; he cannot remain in his newborn state. A baby is generally placed in the hands of parents, who will exercise a strong influence in moulding the new life, in a manner that will determine what sort of person that baby is to become.
It is no less with the new believer born of God; he is as far from completeness as a baby born five minutes ago. A true convert can place himself in the hands of the heavenly Father’s resident agent, the Holy Spirit, and allow himself to be fashioned into what he is called to be; a reflection of the nature and character of Christ Jesus, who set before us the example and model of humanity that God had in mind when He set out to create mankind.
On the other hand, the newborn convert can place himself in unworthy hands and put his trust in men, rather than God, and allow himself to be indoctrinated with the wisdom of this world set forth in the doctrines of men, instead of the wisdom of God which comes by revelation of the Holy Spirit. If he does, he will become a poor representation of the skill of the potter, a misshapen and inadequate vessel with little use to God or mankind.
While the seed we have received is imperishable, it needs divine nurture and careful cultivation if it is to grow and bring forth the intended fruit.
In the meantime, God’s enemies are at work, sowing the perishable seed of tares into His field; the crops look the same but they’re not; one leads to eternal life, the other to the fire (Matthew 13:42).