Fifth Sunday in Easter - Epistle (1893)
"And God looked at everything that He had made; and behold, it was very good."
Only good hasarisen from God's creative hand. All of creation praises His goodness; heaven and earth, yes, every singlecreature proclaims God is good, but with a difference, the one more, the other less.The highest among all creatures are
in heaven and
on earth. Man is the noblestcreature even after the fall into sin. However, among mankind
are especially highly exaltedand excellent. It is true that there is nothing to see externally from this honor; rather, it is internal andspiritual. Christians often appear the exact opposite, to be the most miserable of all creatures.Nevertheless, it is true what we read in today's Epistle: They are the
first fruits of God's creatures
. Assuch, we now consider -James 1:16-21
Believing Christians as the firstfruits of God's creatures;
how they become such
has begotten them,
. God, the Father of Lights, the almighty Creator. They are not onlyHis
, because they, like all other creatures, are
by Him, but in a very particular sense:they are
. yet this
that only happened to
;rebirth, new birth; "coming down from
" through the Holy Spirit, Whom they receive; "a newcreature"
,b. He has begotten them
according to His will
. not according to their own
will); they have contributed, assisted nothing to it; they were "children of wrath by nature", dead insin, enemies of God,
. but according to His mercy and free grace
work alone, like creation,c. He has begotten them
by the Word of Truth
, because it does what it says, itbrings and gives the goodness that it promises
. this is the
, the seed; a living Word, "power of God"
; this Word also works in Baptism
in what way they are such
in the Old Testament,
. the fruits of the field, the first sheaves, the firstbornamong the livestock, the firstborn among mankind; these were separated, sacred, consecrated to theLord, property of the Lord, which is why they must be in part redeemed;
. the firstborn had certainrights: the priesthood, governance, a double portion of the inheritance,b. Christians have become spiritual "first fruits", firstborn, through their spiritual birth,
and chosen people
, the chosen race
. they have acquired glorious
, the kingly
John 1:12-13, 12:36; Galatians 3:26 (faith).
1 Peter 1:3; Titus 3:4-5.
Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5.
Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 1:23.
Ephesians 5:26; John 3:5; Titus 3:5.
John 15:19; 1 Peter 2:9.