“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Corinthians 15:20–23, KJV)
There is a principle established in the Old Testament called “firstfruits.” There was an offering of the “firstfruits” to God. It was the first of the harvest or the firstborn of animals. The offering of the “firstfruits,” was an act of faith, realizing that God had given the “firstfruits,” which were a guarantee of God providing subsequent fruits as well.
I remember a time when we struggled financially. We tried to tithe from our income, but on one occasion at the end of the month, we did not have ten-percent left in our checking account. My wife asked me what to do. I said, “Write a check for whatever is left in the account.” She did so, and we had no idea what we were going to use for money after that. On Monday, we received an unexpected insurance rebate check in the mail for several hundred dollars. We praised God for what He had done, but then I sat and contemplated the situation.
After thinking through it and having read in the Old Testament about the principle of the “firstfruits,” we decided to change the way we approached our finances. Instead of paying our tithe out of the remainder of our monthly income, we would give our tithe out of the first of the monthly income, the very first check written. We would tithe from the “firstfruits” and trust that the Lord would provide everything we needed for the remainder of the month. This is exactly what happened, we never ran short. Oh, there were lean times, but the Lord never ever let us down.
The “firstfruits” is the guarantee of that which is to come. Yes, there is a faith connection. Only people of faith will view the “firstfruits” in this way. This is what Paul spoke of here when he wrote that in the resurrection, Jesus became the “firstfruits” of those of faith who would also be raised up from death.
Death came to all through the sin of one man, Adam. All men are born in Adam and, thus all die. Yet, the resurrection came through Christ, and in Christ all who believe shall be raised from the dead. Jesus is the “firstfruits” for each and every person who has been born of the Spirit (John 3). His resurrection is what gives us our confident assurance of our resurrection.