Rom.8:22,23 – For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
I had never thought much about this phrase that Paul uses here, first fruits of the Spirit, until I was reading Romans 8 again preparing to teach my class. Paul is describing this longing that we have as Christians for God’s kingdom to fully come as a groaning inside of us. All of creation is groaning in anticipation and the Holy Spirit inside of us now joins in on that groan of anticipation. Here is how Barclay describes this.
“If that is true of nature, it is even more true for us. So, Paul goes on to think of human longing. In the experience of the Holy Spirit, men and women had a foretaste, a first installment, of the glory that shall be; now they long with all their hearts for the full realization of what adoption into the family of God means.”
So what we have received of the Spirit in this life is a first taste or first fruits of what is coming. The reality of what we have tasted by being filled with the Spirit is a guarantee of the fullness that will come when Jesus returns. Here is how Brian Simmons describes these first fruits.
“The “firstfruits of the Spirit” would include his indwelling presence, his gifts, his wisdom, and his transforming power. Imagine what the full harvest of the Spirit will bring to us! The Aramaic can be translated “the awakening of the Spirit.”
Simmons points out this taste we have received. First we have access to His presence, this was made possible by the power of His blood and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit. This baptism has deposited and releases the gifts of the Spirit through our lives, we are supernaturally equipped for ministry by the Spirit. He also releases supernatural wisdom, revelation of Jesus and His word by the first fruits we have received. This initial download of the Spirit begins the beauty of transformation in us. We are being changed from glory to glory into His image. This transformation is just the beginning, when He appears we will be made to be like Him. No wonder the Spirit is groaning inside of us for His return.