AMP - 18 And it was of His own [free] will that He gave us birth [as sons] by [His] Word of Truth, so that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].
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The first fruits offering in the Old Testament was first mentioned in Exodus 23:19. When the annual harvest was gathered, the best of the very first of the crops that were collected were to be offered to God in gratitude for the harvest. In referring to this practice, James (in my opinion) was saying that those who became followers of Christ at the time in which he was writing through the receiving of the gospel message (the word of truth), and the forgiveness of their sins through faith, were similarly consecrated as the very beginning of the worldwide harvest of the redeemed that God was seeking to gather from among humanity, and that He has continued to gather to the present day -- the start of restoring humanity to what God had meant it to be at the time of creation in terms of fellowship with Him.
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