Summary: In our trials and temptations we often yell for help in many ways but the question is, will we listen to the One who can help us in our times of trial and temptation?
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God."
James chapter one deals with three main tests of a believer’s life and we how respond to them: Trials (vv.2-12) - Temptation (vv.13-18) - Truth revealed in the Word of God (vv.19-27). In this passage we look at the third of those tests.
A man who was hanging in fear to a limb on the edge of a high cliff yelled down, “Is anyone down there?” A voice hollered up, “Just let go and I will catch you.” He yelled back down, “Is anyone else down there?” This is very true of many Christians. In our trials and temptations we often yell for help in many ways but the question is, will we listen to the One who can help us in our times of trial and temptation?
I. THE SPEAKER - God
Verse 17 introduces us to the character and constancy of the God who assures us during our trials and temptations.
A. God’s Character
He is the source of every good gift … every perfect gift. These two phrases together indicate both the gift and the act of giving. God not only gives perfect gifts but He gives His gifts perfectly. This is in sharp contrast to the way we often give gifts to each other. Our giving is often tainted with motives and attitudes far from pure and perfect. Haven’t you ever received a Christmas gift and then felt like you had to get one for the giver? Or have you ever received a graduation invitation from someone you haven’t heard from in years? Unlike us, God’s gifts are perfect and always given with perfect motives.
Because God’s character is perfect He is called the Father of lights. No matter how much darkness our trials and temptations may place us in, God is there to be the light we need. That is why Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Regardless of how dark your trial may be; in spite of the depth of the temptation you find yourself faced with; God is all the light you need to find your way through those tests of life!
B. God’s Constancy
With God there is no variation. Even the sun’s light varies from season to season and time to time. It can even be eclipsed at times. But God is always high noon and equally dependable at all times. God also has no shadow of turning. God is incapable of change and incapable of being changed by the action of others.
* Numbers 23:19 - “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good.”
* Malachi 3:6 – “I the Lord do not change
Hebrews 6:17-19 tells us that it this trustworthiness of God in the person of Jesus Christ that becomes our anchor in an unstable and changing world. Fortunes change quickly through the seasons of life but God never changes.
Henry Lyte expressed it best in the old hymn Abide With Me:
Swift to it’s close
Ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim,
It’s glories pass away;
Change and decay
In all around I see;
O thou who changest not,
Abide with me
II. THE HEARERS - Believers
James 1:18 moves to the hearers of these promises.
A. He reminds Christians of their Calling
It was of God’s will (that) He brought us forth. God has been active in our lives from eternity past and that reassures us that He is active in our lives now. Through His own will God brought us forth. James is pointing out the contrast between what temptation can do to us (v.15) as opposed to the work God did to make us His children. As one writer put it, “The proof that God is good is our own redemptive history.”(1)
God accomplished this calling through the word of truth. It is the preaching and embracing of God’s Word that changes lives.
* 1 Peter 1:23 – “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.”
B. He Reminds Us of our Commission.