SEED AND GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION
A. In many places in Scripture, God uses the picture of the seed to describe different parts of His plan of redemption. Now we’re going to work through a number of passages. As we read, let’s keep in mind the following principles based on what we just learned: 1) seed and life are inextricably bound together; 2) seed when planted grows over time and eventually becomes a mature organism; 3) contained in seed is the potential to reproduce and multiply life of like kind; 4) God enjoys processes and watching things grow over time; 5) the development and multiplication of seed occurs through God’s word of blessing.
B. In Genesis 1:1, we see the two-fold process of creation. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters, God spoke the word, and a creative act occurred. This very intimate language. There are several places in Scripture that liken the Word-Spirit combination to a seed (sperm). The Spirit and the spoken word are two sides of the same coin. They always go together.
Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
1 Peter 1:22-25
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you (i.e. the gospel, or the word of God, is the seed that leads to life).
C. God is the One who created sex, not the devil. We were made in God’s image as sexual beings. In the context of covenant, a husband and wife come together in intimacy and pleasure unto the planting of a seed. When the seed is planted, life is conceived in the womb. That life grows and develops in the womb over time. The womb is a place of hiddenness. We don’t see the baby, but an image bearer is growing on the inside. We don’t know what the baby will look like. Excitement grows as the time for arrival gets closer.
D. Seed and life are bound together. Salvation occurs in the same way as Genesis 1:1. The Spirit broods, and the gospel – the word of God – is declared. When we receive the gospel in humility and meekness, God’s seed is planted in us and a conception occurs in our inner man. We are now new creatures in Christ, because God’s seed of life is in us by the Spirit.
James 1:21 (ESV)
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word (NIV – “humbly accept the word planted in you”), which is able to save your souls.
James 1:18 (NIV)
He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits (of the restoration of all things in the blessedness of the first resurrection, cf. Rom. 8:19-20, Rev. 20:6)) of all he created (all the creation that will be restored and redeemed in the age to come, cf. Rom. 8;19-20, Ac. 3:21).
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory
E. Seed when planted grows over time and eventually becomes a mature organism. Life begins at conception, but the organism still needs to grow in the womb before coming forth from the womb. When the organism is mature enough to handle the new environment outside the womb, it is time to come forth from the womb. In this age, though our bodies are still in bondage to decay, we are growing more and more into the likeness of Christ on the inside by the work of the Spirit. The more we yield to the work of the Spirit, the more we are transformed on the inside. The seed or word that God plants in our hearts when we receive the gospel continues to grow over time. God enjoys processes and watching things grow over time. God enjoys watching over this process. He enjoys watching us grow over time. He speaks His words to us through the Spirit unto our transformation. Often this process occurs without us knowing it.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (through the work of the Spirit). 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory(they are forming and shaping us into mature vessels over time) that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (our bodies of decay, cf. vs. 16), but on what is unseen (our resurrected bodies of glory to be given us at Christ’s return, cf. vs. 17). For what is seen (our outward bodies of death) is temporary, but what is unseen (the new bodies and kingdom to be given to us in the future at Christ’s return) is eternal.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17 Now(following Pentecost and outpouring of the Spirit and Law written on heart, cf. 2 Cor. 3:1-3) the Lord (Master and Tutor in righteousness, in contrast the Mosaic Law) is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (i.e. Spirit gives true freedom from sin, which is an inward problem needing an inward solution, cf. John 8; Spirit also ultimately gives freedom from death, cf. Rom. 8). 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory (ESV – “beholding the glory of the Lord”), are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (the Spirit mastering sin in our lives through impartations of glory to our inner man over time).
F. When Jesus returns, the Spirit will brood again, and we will be born again from the womb of this age in resurrected glory as newborn sons and daughters of God. What began at our conception when God first planted the word of truth in our hearts, will come forth at the resurrection when Jesus redeems our bodies. The new environment into which we will be born – the kingdom of God – will be imperishable. Therefore those who inherit that kingdom must also be imperishable.
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit ofhim who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you (at the Second Coming)…. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God (born from the womb of this age in the resurrection). 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (the firstfruits of the restoration of all things in the first resurrection, cf. Rev. 20:6, Ac. 3:21). 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-53
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual (pneumatikos – i.e. of the Spirit, Spirit-infused) body (i.e. a body infused once again with the Spirit’s light)…50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood (a body apart from the light infused by the Spirit) cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable (a body interwoven with and clothed with light, as God is clothed in light, cf. Ps. 104), and the mortal with immortality.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (reference to water baptism, coming up out of the water; cf. Rom. 6), set your hearts on things above (the inheritance or treasures stored up for us in heaven and to be given at Second Coming, cf. Mt. 6:19-21, 1 Pet. 1:4), where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (as the first-fruits of the resurrection; i.e. keep your eyes fixed on the resurrected Christ as the first-fruits of the reward that will also be yours at His appearing, cf. Heb. 2). 2 Set your minds on things above (where your treasures are stored, cf. Mt. 6:19-21), not on earthly things (your body of death and the wickedness of the earth in this present evil age). 3 For you died (reference to water baptism, cf. Rom. 6), and your life is now hidden with Christ in God(Spirit transforming us on the inside, but still have bodies of death). 4 When Christ, who is your life (when He speaks the word of life, we will be raised from the dead, cf. 1 Th. 4), appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (the completion of your redemption in the resurrection, with an eternal weight of glory, cf. Rom. 8).
Isaiah 26:19 (NIV)
But your (the LORD’s, cf. Is. 26:16-18) dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning (dew comes up from the ground a vapor, and then condenses in a solidified form); the earth will give birth to her dead (sons of God coming forth in glory).
1 The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies. 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle (cf. Ps. 149, 1 Cor. 6:1-3). Arrayed in holy majesty (resurrected glory), from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth (NIV footnote: alternative “your young men will come to you like the dew”).
G. Contained in seed is the potential to reproduce and multiply life of like kind. This concept applies both to this age and the resurrection. In this age, the Holy Spirit wants to reproduce our lives as share the gospel and make disciples. When we share the gospel, the seed of God’s word is planted in the lost, unto them also becoming God’s children. When we make disciples, God reproduces and multiplies our lives.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you (reproducing unto like kind, Christ).
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.
H. Also, when Jesus raises from the dead, we will be reproduced after His kind and likeness. Like produces like. Jesus’ seed is in us through the gospel and Spirit. We are in Christ. In the resurrection, the Seed, Christ, will be multiplied exponentially in a moment as multitudes are birthed from the grave in the resurrection.
1 John 3:1-3 (NIV)
1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him (God reproducing the resurrected Christ according to His kind), for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body (reproduced according to like kind).
I. The development and multiplication of seed occurs through God’s word of blessing. When Jesus returns, He will pour out the blessing of the Spirit on us. This will result in the Seed’s multiplication in the resurrection. The Spirit will brood, God will humble Himself, kneel down, and lift us up from the grave with His hand as He speaks the word of blessing.
1“But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. 2 This is what the Lord says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring (Heb. “seed”), and my blessing on your descendants. 4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. 5 One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.