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The First Fruits for Salvation
Reflecting on the Third Sunday after Pentecost: Two Days after Sunday (Year A)
Psalter: Psalm 126
Old Testament: Genesis 25:7-11
Epistle: 2 Thessalonians 2:13—3:5
Psalter: Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 3:1-9
Epistle: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter (1 Thessalonians 2:13-15).
When Paul refers to “the first fruits for salvation,” he is using agricultural imagery to describe the Thessalonian believers’ unique status in God’s redemptive plan. In the Old Testament, “first fruits” referred to the initial harvest of a crop, which was set apart and offered to God as an act of gratitude and dedication. It symbolized both the promise of the rest of the harvest and the acknowledgment of God’s provision.
In applying this metaphor to the Thessalonian Christians, Paul emphasizes their special position in God’s salvific work. They are called “the first fruits” because they were among the first to respond to the Gospel and embrace salvation through Jesus Christ. They represent the initial harvest of believers, a select group chosen by God.
Furthermore, Paul attributes their salvation to God’s sovereign choice, emphasizing that it was not based on their own merits or efforts but on God’s grace. Their salvation is described as being accomplished through three interconnected processes:
God’s choice: Paul affirms that God, in God’s divine wisdom, chose the Thessalonian believers to be saved. This selection is an expression of God’s initiative and sovereignty in the salvation of individuals.
Sanctification by the Spirit: The Thessalonian believers’ salvation is also achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit, who sets them apart for God’s purposes and progressively transforms them into the likeness of Christ.
Belief in the truth: The Thessalonians’ response of faith, their trust in the truth of the Gospel message, is an essential component of their salvation. Their belief in Jesus as the Savior and their acceptance of the Gospel played a role in their initial justification and ongoing sanctification.
Overall, the phrase “the first fruits for salvation” highlights the Thessalonian believers’ privileged status as early recipients of God’s redemptive plan, chosen by him and transformed through the work of the Holy Spirit. It emphasizes the divine initiative in salvation while acknowledging the Thessalonians’ faith and response to the truth of the Gospel.
PRAYER: Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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