Summary: God is the one who gives all good gifts especially salvation
SBC Philippi 7/3/05 am
Rev. Jeff Simms
God Gives All Gifts Good
Primary Purpose: God gives good gifts to his children especially salvation
Have you ever thought about how much you have to be thankful for that God has given you? Many of us have friends, families, jobs and homes that are nice. We have been blessed with a relationship with God and many wonderful memories. James was wanting to assure the people in these verses that when we receive anything that is good it is from God. God will not by his nature give us anything that is evil or bad.
James begins vs.16 by warning us “Do not be deceived” which means that we should not wander from the conception of God which is found in His Word. Sometimes we might get impressions from nature or circumstances that God is one way. But, we are to be grounded in the truth of scripture and what it tells us about God’s nature. James was concerned that some people would accuse God of misleading or leading them into sin or temptation.
He wants to remind us that even though the world may change our God does not change. (Heb 13:8) He is the God who gives all or every good and perfect gift. The word that James uses for change is parallage and the word for the turn of the shadow or as the NIV says it “shifting shadows” is the word tropi. Both of these words have to do with the variations of nature such as length of days or the setting and place of the sun and moon in the sky. James identifies the Lord and the Father of the heavenly lights.
Sometimes God is called light as it is in 1 John 1:5. But, here in this verse James is identifying God as the one who places the sun, moon and stars in their place. Even though these things change often, God doesn’t change. This is also what Hebrews 13:8 says when it says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Now, think about why this is important.
For one thing, if Jesus could change the question would be what would he change to? If someone is already perfect then there is no room for improvement then the only change that could occur would be bad.
We have to be wary of those who would seek to make Christ less than fully God and fully man. Early on the history of the church there was a controversy in the church called the Arian controversy. The early church fathers rejected the teachings of Arius (a presbyter of the Church of Alexandria) back in AD 325 at the Council of Nicaea when they came up with what is called the Nicene Creed. Arius was saying that Christ was a kind of intermediate between God and man and was neither fully God or man. Many have taught through the years that either Jesus was fully God and not man or the other way around. We must seek to affirm that Jesus is both fully God and man and is perfect in every way. He is neither corrupt nor sinful and fully dependable and trustworthy. Anything less is heresy. He is not like the shifting shadows which are just temporary and fade away quickly.
( Note about Arius from Chapters in Church History, Powel Mills Dawley, Seabury Press, New York, 1961).
In vs.18 James emphasizes the greatest gift that he has given us. The emphasis here is “Of his own will beat he us” or as the NIV says “He chose to give us birth. . .”. We all know of women who have given birth to children who were planned. But, nobody forced God to share his word or Son with us. He didn’t have to do this. He desires to share His Son and His Word with us. Without that word then we would all still be lost in our sin. We would be nothing more than fuel for the fires of hell. Our lives would have no meaning at all. But, Jesus gives us birth through the transforming power of His Word.
This is why we must always keep our worship services and studies Bible centered. The Word of God is what transforms people. The teacher or pastor is powerless without it. In Hebrews 4:12 it says that “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The Word of God is not like any other book. The Word of God reveals the heart of God to men’s souls and is able to penetrate the spirit and soul and convict where it is needed.