1 Peter 1:24-25
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass wither, and the flower thereof falls away:…
Human changes and the Divine unchangeableness — this is the subject suggested by our text. Its first clause is an utterance of the despondency which comes over us as we contemplate the frail lives of men. The second clause answers that despondency by affirming that the Word of the Lord is not changeful like the thought of man, but enduring as God Himself. The third clause declares that in the gospel we have the abiding Word of God; and the whole passage is intended to illustrate the foregoing declaration that faith in the gospel makes men as immortal as God; we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." Now the Bible is not a despondent book. Prophets and apostles give expression to our despondency only to correct and to console it.
I. The first consolation our text has for this depression is that IT CONTRASTS WITH OUR FRAILTY THE WORD OF THE ETERNAL GOD. It matters little that the worker passes if his work endures. If we had but as firm a faith in "the Word of God" as we have in the results of human investigation, if we were as earnest in the Divine work as in our own, despondency would be at an end. Piety will never be checked, faith will never languish, because "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass." For piety is bent on serving God, and faith receives God's revelation; and though "the grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away," "the Word of the Lord endureth forever."
II. The next thought suggested by our text is that MAN'S CHANGEFULNESS ILLUSTRATES THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD. The Divine intention is brought out in His dealing with the fleeting generations of men; it becomes venerable in retrospect, while it is ever revealing itself in the freshness of a progressive history. An unvarying history would be a history of death; we gain a vaster idea of permanence by advance than we could ever gain by the continuance of unchanging forms. "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever" — depository of God's creative energy. Another spring sees the grass revive; the trees look down on the renewed face of the earth. So, though men die, humanity endures; the same in its great necessities, the same in its sense of dependence and obligation, with quenchless aspirations ever rising; there is an abiding human heart. And humanity finds the same eternal God, the same object of piety, the inspirer and rewarder of faith, the fountain of an everlasting hope; finds the same salvation, the same Saviour — "Jesus Christ, yesterday and today the same, and forever." There is development in humanity as there is evolution in nature; and this development witnesses to the abiding God, who needs ages to work out His will and reveal His eternal purpose of goodness and grace to waiting man.
III. It is not of the eternity of God or of God's rule over the world that our text speaks; it is "THE WORD OF THE LORD," WHICH "ENDURETH FOREVER," We need a revelation; an unrevealed were an unknown God. And yet how can we dream of abiding truth in a changing humanity? As mankind advances will not men's thoughts vary concerning even such fundamental things as moral obligation, the character of virtue, the objects of our devotion, the very being of God? The answer is, there will be development in the Christian faith; a fuller apprehension of its truths, a deeper sympathy with its spirit, a larger experience of its power, a broader application of it to the varying wants of men. But it will be from the old founts that the new inspirations will be drawn; men will turn to Christ and His gospel in every social complication, every conflict of faith, every spiritual need. The world's morals must be Christian morals; the world's religion the Christian faith. We are able to apply the test of history to this prediction. What book is there, eighteen hundred years old, which has the interest for all sorts and conditions of men the gospel has? We look inward, and we find the reason of its perpetuity to lie in its appeal to what is deepest in the soul of man.
IV. The enduring Word of God is THE PLEDGE OF OUR ENDURANCE. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." The gospel has been "the salt of the earth," preserving it from decay. Under it the world has renewed its youth, and its last days shall be its best. The love and righteousness, which are first revealed to our faith as ever abiding in God, and then are formed in Us — graces of character as well as objects of faith — are the only things that can endure. The man in whom they are not is dead while he liveth; the man in whom they are shall live, although he die.
(A. Mackennal, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: