- Alan Salwei
1 Cor. 15:20-22 - Firstfruits
Both death & life come through a man. Which one of these men represents you?
Read / Listen
Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 16
Q. Why must he [our Savior]
be truly human
and truly righteous?
A. God’s justice demands
that human nature, which has sinned,
must pay for its sin;
but a sinner could never pay for others.
The Apostle Paul describes Jesus’ resurrection as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
This imagery aligns with the requirement from Leviticus 23:10 for the Israelites to bring the firstfruits, or first part of their crop, as an offering. The offering of the firstfruits of the harvest symbolized how the entirety of the harvest belonged to God.
Likewise, Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, signifying that although he is the first to be raised, he will not be the last.
Through the initial act of disobedience in the Garden, sin entered the world, and through that one action, all of creation suffers. This is what we call original sin, meaning that even as infants we inherit the sinful nature brought forth through the first human Adam.
Since death, which is the end result of sin, entered the world via the actions of Adam, it makes sense that the resurrection of the dead comes in a similar way; although this new life comes through the second Adam, that is, Jesus Christ.
In Q&A 16 the catechism raises an important question… why?
Why was Jesus born into the world?
Why did Jesus through the incarnation take on a human nature?
Why is Jesus the only one who can pay the penalty of our sin?
It all comes back to the origination of our sin. It is our human nature that stands at odds with God because of our sin, so that means that the one to be the recipient of God’s justice must also be fully human. Furthermore, a sinful person can't pay the sin of another. One cannot take on the penalty for another that they already owe themselves.
This is why we need grace. As humans, we find ourselves in a place of sinfulness and deserving of God’s wrath against unrighteousness. Since the penalty must be paid by a human - one without sin at that - there is no worldly means to escape God’s wrath.
So thank God for the grace given through Jesus: that although God would have been perfectly justified to let humanity face the consequences of our sin, instead Jesus came as the only one who could redeem a fallen humanity. For the only one who could be our mediator and deliverer is He who is both human and, as we will cover tomorrow, divine.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has the power to give everlasting life and also to take it away;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: May my thoughts, words and deeds reflect my position in Jesus Christ, who has brought me from death to life
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Acts 10