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:…
"What is wanting here?" said a courtier to an illustrious prince, as they stood together, the spectators of a most splendid triumph in the city of Rome. To him who spake, there appeared to be nothing wanting. The gaiety and splendour of the spectacle were in his sight complete. The supreme power represented by the entire body of the senate was there. The spoils taken from the enemy, filling many carriages and piled upon movable platforms, were there. The ministers of justice, clad in official costume, and bearing the insignia of their office, were there. And there was the victorious general, attired in the triumphalia and crowned with laurels. "What is wanting here?" "What," answered the prince, as he watched the procession pass along, and in passing pass away, "What is wanting? This is wanting, continuance." The procession would pass along the appointed route, and then all would be dispersed, and the triumph would be a thing of the past. All thoughtful men feel seriously, if not sorrowfully, the changeful character of all the things which we see and handle on this earth. Where is continuance upon this planet? God has established the earth, and it abideth, but what beside abideth? Yea, even the earth is doomed to be burned up; and while it abides, great changes are continually occurring, even in the crust of the earth, and in the waters which fill its hollow places. And where continuance would be most valued, and where one should have expected it, even there it is not. The difference between poor men and rich men, famous men and men without renown, is just the difference between grass and the flower of grass; but as both grass and the flower of grass wither, so it is appointed unto all men once to die. There are things, however, which continue, good and precious things with which men have to do, and one of these things is mentioned in our text. Let us examine it. Words are lasting things. The breath which inspires them perishes, the lips which form them return to dust, the instruments which. inscribe them are destructible, but words spoken and heard, written and read, have a boundless life and an immeasurable power. A good word may continue to enlighten, to invigorate forever and forever. All this is true of the words of man, but still more enduring in all their effects and influences are the words of the Lord. Many words has God spoken to us men. Among these words of God there is one communication which, on account of its singularity and importance, is called "the Word of the Lord," and which, by reason of its pleasantness and graciousness, is called "the gospel." Now, the Word of the Lord endureth forever, and this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you. It lives in God's mind; it lives, in fact, as a thing done and a provision completed; and it lives in the life of those who have been born again.
1. The nature of God, as revealed to us in the Scriptures, is the nature from which a gospel might be expected.
2. The gospel, so far as we appreciate it, and so far as we understand the thirsts and wants of human nature, is an all-sufficient gospel for man.
3. A gospel less than the gospel of the grace of God must have left some thirst unslaked, or some necessity unmet, or some wound unhealed, or some tears unwiped away; and while those tears were falling, that wound smarting, that want craving, that thirst burning, there could not have been the experience and enjoyment of complete salvation.
4. A gospel more real and substantial, or more worthy of the world's acceptation, could not have issued even from God.
5. And this gospel is abiding, because it is the incorruptible seed of life everlasting. The old spiritual nature is impregnated with the seed of a new man, a Divine seed and incorruptible, the seed of the truth of the gospel; and the man who has thus received the gospel enters upon a new and eternal life. The gospel now lives in a living mind, and in a living heart, and in a living character; it repeats itself in the believer; and as the character and mission of Jesus Christ may be learned from the written life of Christ, so the gospel may be learned from the spiritual life of him who believes it.Let us now indicate the practical bearing of this doctrine.
1. The text magnifies the gospel. Let us be devoutly careful to preserve its gloriousness in our own eyes. And in order to do this we must reverence the gospel.
2. The text shows that the gospel is intended to be to us personally, and thereby furnishes us with a test of our religious state. The gospel is intended to be the germ of a Godlike life within us, and if it fail of this, it fails of its chief effect.
3. The text points out that in which is continuance; let us take care to handle perishable things as perishable, and to demean ourselves toward the gospel as everlasting.
4. The text suggests the strongest motives for the immediate and universal preaching of the gospel. Flesh is as grass. The man whose days are as grass is dying daily. And it is only here, while he is breathing out his brief life, that his nature can be impregnated with this incorruptible seed.
5. The text encourages us to sustain, and in all respects to provide for, the continuous preaching of the gospel. One after another the preachers of the gospel enter that valley, and are seen no more. But what do they leave behind? The sanctuaries in which they ministered? Yes; but something more. The flocks they tended? Pleasant memories? Yes; but much more. They leave that gospel, written not on tablets of stone, but upon the fleshy tablets of the heart; they leave that gospel more than written — they leave it in many hearts, a seed with a germ of Godlike and eternal life in it; they leave it as a new man, in many who have been born again by it as by incorruptible seed; they leave it in the rich experiences and holy activities of the new man; they leave it in a state imperishable, and they may leave it without anxiety.
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: