Good morning everyone!
Isn’t it good to know that God has good and perfect gifts He will give to His children! These are days when the gift of patience, peace, kindness, goodness, self-control, knowledge, wisdom, etc., are desperately needed. I believe those are the kinds of gifts God has to offer His children. I am also grateful that God doesn’t “change” like shifting shadows. He is consistent and faithful!
James finishes this short passage by reminding his readers (and hopefully each of us!) they have received the greatest gift possible. It is found in verse 18: “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all He created.” This is an encouraging verse and a challenging one at the same time.
We know that scripture teaches the problem we all have with the penalty of sin: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) Paul shared with the Christians in Ephesus the following encouragement: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were DEAD in transgressions (sin) – it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5) The encouragement is that the love of God has moved us from death to life.
The life we enjoy has been achieved through his WORD. “My son, do not forget my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” (Proverbs 3:1-2) Here is the challenge: “It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) How well do we know the Word of God? What level of commitment do we have to study His Word daily? Those are questions we should be asking ourselves. Here is another: How can we expect to live on the Word of God if we don’t know it? As believers, we have received our “life” from the truth shared in God’s Word – the gospel of Christ.
We should be as dependent upon the Word for sustaining our life as a newborn child is dependent upon their parents to sustain their life. Without the support of their parents, a newborn child will not survive. Without the Word of God, a believer will not have the sustenance they need to survive the trials of this life.
James finishes this passage by sharing that we are a kind of first-fruits of all God created. The recipients of James’ letter would have been very familiar with the term first-fruits. It had a deep connection with the nation of Israel. They actually had an offering of the first-fruits of their crops. This offering was significant because it represented three things:
•The offering of the first-fruits was the portion of the crop that BELONGED to God.
•The offering of the first-fruits was considered the BEST of the crop.
•The offering of the first-fruits was a reminder that the Lord would KEEP His promises to His people.
We need to be reminded that we belong to God, are to allow ourselves to become the best we can be and are NEVER to forget His promises.
This passage also draws attention to the truth that God CHOSE to give us life through His word. Many of us chose to have children and in doing so became responsible for providing for them. Remember, God chose us: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws the, and I will raise them upon the last day.” (John 6:44)
One might ask: Why did God chose me? Allow me to suggest an answer: He chose you out of His grace so that you could belong to Him, would be the best offering that could be given to Him and would be a person who would live their lives knowing that whatever you faced, trials and tribulations, you would always remember what God has promised his children. And you remember those promises because you have immersed yourself into His Word. You have hidden His word in your heart so that you would not sin against Him. You have hidden His word in your heart because it provides you with the strength, wisdom and guidance to not only survive in this world, but to thrive. You have hidden His word in your heart because it is what has given you LIFE!
Summit family, we are praying for each of you daily asking God to protect you, but also to remind you of His great love for you. Thank you for being so faithful to Him. We encourage you to remember that YOU are part of the offering of First-Fruits!
Have a blessed day!