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Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)
Of his own will (βούλομαι boulomai) has the sense feeling, wanting desiring strongly. God is carrying out his purposes, one of which is that he brings forth spiritual sons. Looking back at what he has already written, one of his greatest gifts to mankind was that we “have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Pet. 1:13) We can contrast this with the fact that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) God did not cause Satan, Adam, or Eve to sin, nor does he cause us to sin. God’s born-again sons are brought about by the Holy Spirit, by way of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit transforms a person, empowering him through the Word of God, and enabling him to put on the “new person” required of true Christians: “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col. 3:12) This is the good news of the kingdom. The apostle Paul says of this, “In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14) So James again has proven his point that God is not a tempter in the fact that if God was nothing but a tempter, then why would he give humanity his written Word that mankind could have the knowledge of salvation.
He (God) brought us forth by the word of truth. (λόγῳ ἀληθείας logoi alētheias) The word of truth, the Word of God, the Gospel, is how God brings about the new birth. The phrase refers to the gospel, as well as the entire Word of God by extension. (Eph. 1:13; Col 1:5; 2 Tim 2:15) A genuine Christian can only come about from the truth. The apostle John, who wrote about the truth more often than others, wrote, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. By this we know that we are of the truth and will persuade our heart before him.” (1 John 3:18-19) So if the true Christian desires to persuade his heart before God that he is a genuine Christian, he must begin with the truth found in the Word of God. If we are inundated in the thinking of the world, we shall be in error. – 1 John 4:4-7.
It was God’s purpose for the first-century Christian congregation to bring about those who were born again by the Holy Spirit. They were to be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. In other words, they were taken out of mankind at that time as firstfruits (ἀπαρχή aparchē) to God. Under the Mosaic Law, God received the firstfruits of everything. (Ex. 22:29-30; 23:19) In fact, “Israel was holy to Jehovah, the firstfruits of his harvest.” (Jer. 2:3) From the Apostle John’s words, we see that these ones and others up unto our day were ‘made a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign over the earth.’ (Rev. 5:10) James could have also been thinking of the “Feast of Passover was to begin on the fourteenth day of the first month and was followed the next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread (23:4–6).” “The next festive event in the Israelite calendar was the Feast of Firstfruits, which began the day after the Sabbath in the week of Unleavened Bread. On this day, the Israelite presented a sheaf of the first grain of barley (23:9–11). The presentation of the first sheaf was representative of the entire crop, acknowledging that the yield came from the hand of God.” (Rooker 2000, 286-7) The barley firstfruits was on Nisan 16 in 33 C.E., which landed on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, with a sheaf of the first grain of barley on Pentecost day, the occurrence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Lev. 23:4-11, 15-17) If this were the case, Jesus Christ would be the “firstfruits that Paul spoke of, saying, “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20, 23) Then, in a more general sense, Christians are a kind of firstfruits of his creatures who are important in God’s new created [really, renewed] order. The apostle John tells us, “It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb.” – Revelation 14:4.