Christ’s birth: a kind of first fruits

 

galatians-4-4-7

Revised and re-posted, the Verse of the Day for December 12, 2016 offers another passage related to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ taken from Galatians 4:4-5 in the Amplified Bible:

But when [in God’s plan] the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the [regulations of the] Law, so that He might redeem and liberate those who were under the Law, that we [who believe] might be adopted as sons [as God’s children with all rights as fully grown members of a family]. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Apropos of the Christmas season, the passage also brings to mind the birth of Jesus Christ through whom we have the adoption as sons.  Adoption is a legal process whereby adopted sons had the same rights and privileges as sons who were naturally born into a family. Indeed, as legally adopted sons, believers have the right to our father’s inheritance and all that citizenship in His heavenly kingdom entails.

A similar expression is used in Romans 8:23-24 (NASB):

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

The reference to Jesus Christ as a glorious illustration of first fruits was the inspiration behind this poem with that title:

First fruits

In the exercise of His will He brought us forth

by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind

of first fruits among His creatures.

James 1:18 (NASB)

 

Ever transform, as You so fashion our visage

To be like Christ, the brightness of your glory.

In Your refiner’s fire melt us that we might be

Molded, our being cast in His express image:

As brand new boldface type printed upon the page,

As a double eagle minted in your treasure,

Stamped with the very essence of your character

To convey the awesome power of your message.

So saturate our lives: spirit, heart, soul, and mind,

Every fiber of my being, down to our pores;

Permeate us with Your presence that we might find

Our true calling as Christ’s faithful ambassadors.

More than mere vessel, vehicle, or instrument,

Like Christ, we are formed as first fruits of God’s intent.

Although as believers we recognize and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we also remember His birth is only the first part of his five-fold purpose: he was born; he lived and he died; he was raised from the dead; he ascended to his Father; and he shall return.

We, first of all, realize that Jesus Christ was born to die, for we cannot deny that he was also crucified, that he died, and that he was buried, but we also proclaim that “He is risen, indeed.”  In addition, just as Christ ascended to the Father, we also proclaim: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command. …And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive…will be caught up together with them…and so we will always be with the Lord.” All of this comes to mind with the birth of Jesus Christ.

One of the popular songs of the Christmas season is the 20th Century spiritual “Amen” with lyrics that tell not only of the birth of Jesus Christ but give an overview of his entire life in a most memorable way. Here is Larnell Harris offering his moving rendition:

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