In this third sermon from the book of James, we dove head-first into an unpacking of verse 18 where James tells us we “should be a kind of firstfruits of [God’s] creatures.” This understanding leads us into verses 19-27 where we get a greater glimpse into what a “firstfruits” kind of life looks like. A firstfruits life will start by demonstrating itself in a renewed relationship with the word of God. A new and living relationship with God’s word will ultimately translate into both freedom and godly formation in the life of the Christian. John Calvin nailed it when he said,
“Man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he first looks upon God and then descends from contemplating God to scrutinizing himself.” - John Calvin
We will find freedom by realizing, like James, that we can look upon God’s law with a sense of liberty - not because it has been abolished or it’s demands have been slackened, but because as we look into the law and realize our filthiness, we’re driven emphatically to Jesus who kept the law perfectly for us and deposited his perfect righteousness into our bankrupt account. This glorious reality then enables us to strive for law-keeping not so we can try to earn God’s favor, but precisely because Jesus already earned it for us.
Finally, we can know if we truly are a firstfruit person if in our freedom we evidence a formation by God’s Word through how we speak (James 1:26) and how we live (James 1:27) - finding ourselves increasingly concerned with justice and purity.
I mentioned that when James refers to being “quick to hear” in verse 19 it’s primarily in reference to listening attentively to God’s word. What measures are you taking in your life to maintain consistent interaction with the Bible? What needs to be done so that you prioritize interaction with God’s word and allow it to lead you to freedom and godly formation?