Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

According to my parents, when I was a toddler I developed an obsession with firetrucks. I have no reason to doubt this, although my tastes have matured greatly since then. I’m told that one particular Christmas, when I was two or three years old, they bought me a bright red firetruck, wrapped it up, and placed it under the tree. When Christmas morning dawned and it came time to open the presents, I reportedly went straight for the large wrapped box and tore off a corner of the wrapping paper, enough to reveal one wheel. Apparently that was all I needed to see, for I immediately set to yelling “Firetruck! Firetruck! Firetruck!” at the top of my lungs.

In James 1:17, which we looked at last week, the author told us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…”  The word “every” implies that we receive more than one gift from our Heavenly Father. But in today’s verse James goes straight for the biggest present under the tree – so to speak- and begins tearing off the wrapping paper.

The gift in question is nothing short of the salvation we have in Jesus Christ, and as James unwraps it for us, he reveals three aspects of it that are very important to remember.

The origin of our salvation is the Will of God.

Of his own will he brought us forth… At the end of the day we were not saved because we thought it would be a great idea, or through some effort on our part. We are part of the family of the redeemed because God willed it to be so.

The means of our salvation is the Word of God.

…by the word of truth… There is nothing subjective about our redemption. Its terms are written out in black and white in the Scriptures, and not one “jot or tittle” of it can be changed.

The purpose of our salvation is the Glory of God.

…that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. God is in the process of restoring the creation that was corrupted by sin, and we, as new creatures in Christ, are the beginning of that process.

Now, these are all important truths to remember, but they take on special significance when we remember that James is writing all of this in the context of “rejoicing in trials”. And when we see them in that light, suddenly they become all the more precious. No matter what happens, my salvation is secure because it was determined by God and is guaranteed in His word. Everything that happens to me has an overarching purpose – the Glory of God and the restoration of His creation.

And when that sinks in, no matter what we are going through, we can jump up and down with the unfeigned glee of a three-year-old and shout “I’m saved! I’m saved! I’m saved!”

We don’t even have to wait for Christmas.

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