James 1:18 ‘He brought us forth by the word of truth.’

September 29, 2018 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

James 1:18 ‘He brought us forth by the word of truth.’

The most blessed and entire sentence that constitutes verse 1:18 of the epistle of James is absolutely full even to overflowing with beautiful and wonderful truths. Read for yourself and ponder each pregnant word or expression:

Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.

In this single sentence we find the perennial interrogatives; Who, What, How, and, Why. These constitute the usual questions that would be asked by any investigative reporter. Who, or what, is the subject of this sentence? and What did he do? just How did he do it? And to What end, or goal; what was the design in these things; the desired result? What was the ultimate purpose in the design here proffered?

The simplest sentence in the midst of this extended sentence is, we believe, ‘He brought us forth.’ This makes it much easier to recognize the subject of James’ sentence. It is conspicuously, He; He brought us forth. What is intended by the phrase, ‘brought forth’? It is a figure of speech, something of a metaphor. We find it elsewhere in our Bibles, in both the Older Testament and the Newer Testament. The inspired Psalmist, David made use of it in his grand song/prayer of repentance and confession for his terrible sins of adultery and murder with regard to Bath-Sheba and Uriah. In his confessing he refers both to his actual sins, but also to the original sin with which all men come into the world. He says in Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me, demonstrating most clearly the relationship between conception and being brought forth, rather, born. From the gospel narrative of Luke, we have an even better known passage with this figure used. The physician Luke has written his ‘narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us’ and relates the birth of the Christ in this manner;

in 2:7 he has said, And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. So when James teaches that He brought us forth, it is reference to birth, but not to the physical birth spoken of by David and Luke. Rather, James speaks here of the new birth, namely, regeneration. He brought us forth as Christ forcefully told the Pharisee, Nicodemus, recorded in John 3:3, 5, Ye must be born again, or, ye must be born anew, ye must be born from above. The Spirit who, like the wind, blows where He lists. We do not see Him nor hear Him as He bestows regenerating grace to the sinner. And James has couched this activity of God the Holy Spirit within the framework Of His own will. We could say that, according to His sovereign plan, in the exercise of His will, having purposed, He brought us forth. It should stand out to the eyes of our minds that any being brought forth at all, must be brought forth by His will according to His sovereign plan, or none would ever be born anew. It is not the will of man, but the will of God. Man must have his will changed through the power of regenerating grace. That is the reason that David can say in Psalm 110:3, Thy people offer themselves willingly in the day of thy power. In the day of God’s blessed regenerating grace, His chosen willingly come to Him through Jesus Christ; they then, and only then, willingly respond to the gospel command to repent and believe on Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth. The Word of God is the instrument that He has ordained unto our salvation. By what means does He bring us forth of His own will? It is by the means of the Word of God; the Word of Truth. ‘They did not all hearken to the glad tidings,’ Paul cries in Romans 10:16 as he cites from the gospel prophet, Isaiah. Yea, many do not, will not, hear the Word of God; they are not willing to truly listen to the glad tidings. Paul had said, just a few verses previously (Romans 10:11-15):

For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. how then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things?

All praise be to God, He has sent His gospel out by His Son, the God-man, Jesus Christ, and Jesus has sent out His preachers with the glad tidings that the Christ has come to save lost hell-deserving sinners from the wrath of God. Yea, He Himself has taken our sins upon Himself and suffered the death on Golgotha due to us.

But why; what is the purpose for which Of His own will he brought us forth by the word of truth? James has answered that question as well, it is that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. What is it to be ‘a kind of first-fruits of his creatures’? Paul has told us, in 1 Corinthians 15:20, But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of them that are asleep. And in the 23rd verse which follows, But each in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; then they that are Christ’s, at his coming. James has told us here in our focus passage that we should be a kind of first-fruits. How are we to be a kind only? Well, can we be the first-fruits if Christ is the first-fruits? Perhaps this is the reason for James saying that we should be a kind of first-fruits. Does that not perfectly correspond to what Paul has told us in the eighth of Romans, verse 29? Indeed, does not this verse of James fit beautifully with Paul to the Romans (and us) when he reminded us about God’s predestinating love that resulted in our loving Him and being called according to His purpose, with His purpose being expressed, For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.? Let us pursue holiness that we may be, being conformed unto the Son.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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