Note: More exposition from Sunday before last's sermon on James 1:17-20. In that message I suggested three themes: Who is God (vv. 17-18a)? Who are we in Christ? (v. 18b)? How should we live? (vv. 19-20). The exposition below addresses the second of those themes.
James 1:18b: …that we
should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
notice the first-person plural pronoun: “We.” James is identifying with his
Christian readers, of the first generation and every generation thereafter.
are described in many different ways in the Scriptures. We are disciples,
followers of the Way, Christians, saints, the elect, the redeemed, pilgrims,
aliens, strangers, the called, the adopted, the sons of God, joint heirs with
many things in James, however, the description here is somewhat unique. And I
think there is a good argument to be made for the fact that this description especially relates to the first generation of believers.
describes the believers to whom he wrote as “a kind of firstfruits [aparche]
of [God’s] creatures.”
seems to combine two ideas we see in Paul:
Christians are a new creation or new creatures in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things
have passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
the risen Christ is described by Paul as a kind of “firstfruits” in 1
Corinthians 15:20: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become
the firstfruits [aparche] of them that slept.”
seems to be: Just as Christ’s resurrection from the dead anticipated the
general resurrection that all men will experience at the end of the ages, so
the regeneration of that first generation of believers anticipated the
regeneration of countless believers through many coming generation until the
glorious return of Christ.
sense it can be applied to us also, anticipating the ones who will come after
new creatures in Christ, and we anticipate an even greater harvest that is yet
to come. In our Father’s house there are many mansions!