D5 Believers Should Know That God Is Steadfast James 1:16-18
James 1:16-18 WEL Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good common-gift and perfect special-gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom is no variation, neither shadow from turning. 18 Having willed it he gave birth to us by the Word of Truth, so that we should be a type of first fruits among his created things.
Deceived (err or misled in other translations)=
• This is the Greek word πλανάω planáō. It means
◦ In a passive sense, to go astray on your own initiative (Matthew 18:12, 1 Peter 2:25).
◦ To lead away someone usually in the sense of error through deception (Matthew 24:4, 1 John 2:26, 2 Timothy 3:13b).
• Here it is used in the passive sense. We are not to drift away from the Gospel, Christian doctrine (the teachings of the New Testament in its plain, normal sense), or the Christian life (as defined in the New Testament).
• Two types
◦ Good and perfect
◦ It is difficult to know what these mean
▪ John Wesley comments on this verse: No evil, but every good gift - Whatever tends to holiness. And every perfect gift - Whatever tends to glory.
▪ JFB: gift ... gift — not the same words in Greek: the first, the act of giving, or the gift in its initiatory stage; the second, the thing given, the boon, when perfected. As the “good gift” stands in contrast to “sin” in its initiatory stage (Jas 1:15), so the “perfect boon” is in contrast to “sin when it is finished,” bringing forth death (2Pe 1:3).
▪ Hiebert: Although all good gifts that men enjoy come from God, the context suggests that James is thinking specifically of His gifts "with special reference to their action on the soul of man; for he is exhibiting the truth which stands opposed to the error that God is the author of sin." (James -- D. Edmond Hiebert) (Hiebert's Excellent Commentaries) (Source)
▪ From a devotion at Our Daily Bread (31 March 95):
When Satan tempted Eve, he did so by enticing her to doubt God’s character. He told Eve, “God knows that in the day you eat of [the forbidden fruit] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).
Satan was implying, “God has a hidden agenda, and it is an evil one.” The devil knew that once Eve doubted the goodness of God, the temptation would work.
We may not think we doubt God. But when events happen in our lives that make us question Him, that’s exactly what we do. We seldom stop believing in Him, but we do stop believing in His goodness. And that is a faith-poisoning idea!
Never doubt God’s goodness. Even when our trials seem beyond our understanding, we can trust God to give us perfect gifts (James. 1:17).
• The Greek word is παραλλαγή parallagḗ.
• It means change.
• The Lord is steadfast and doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8).
• This is a character trait called immutability.
• Some more verses (Psalm 102:27 and Hebrews 6:18)
• This inspires our confidence, because we don’t have to worry if He thinks differently about us, maybe doesn’t love us anymore, has left us, He has changed His standards, He has changed His ways, and changed His Gospel, so now we are disqualified for heaven.
• Regeneration, born again, born of the Holy Spirit
• The Greek word is ἀποκυέω apokyéō.
• It has the meaning of birth at the end of pregnancy (Abbott-Smith Greek Lexicon of the New Testament).
• Again, note the contrast between James 1:15 and James 1:18.
◦ James 1:15 speaks of sinful desires giving birth to sinful actions, and sinful actions grow into death.
◦ James 1:18 speaks of God’s work of regeneration. The Word of Truth is used by the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and open our hearts and minds to our true condition. (See 1 Peter 1:23-25).
Word of Truth=
• Truth is reality. God shows us reality. Truth is very important God. He is the non-lying God (Hebrews 6:18, 1 Samuel 15:29).
• Some things about truth
◦ What God speaks is truth even history and science when referred to in the Bible (John 17:17). God uses truth in the process of sanctification.
◦ Jesus, Himself, is truth (John 14:6).
◦ The Holy Spirit guides us into truth (John 16:13).
◦ Humanity’s natural sinful nature suppresses truth. We all want our sins covered up (hidden) (Romans 1:18).
◦ Truth is freeing (John 8:32). In Robertson’s Word Pictures on this verse, he writes: The freedom of which Jesus here speaks is freedom from the slavery of sin as Paul in Rom 8:2. See John 8:36. This freedom is won alone by Christ (John 8:36) and we are sanctified in truth (John 17:19). In John 1:17 truth is mentioned with grace as one of the marks of the gospel through Christ. Freedom (intellectual, moral, spiritual) is only attainable when we are set free from darkness, sin, ignorance, superstition and let the Light of the World shine on us and in us.
Type of fruits= the first century Christians.
Summary= God’s gifts are a great blessing. We may take food for granted (God forbid) but it is a great blessing. We need to be thankful for all that God gives us. The greatest blessings are salvation and reconciliation with God, fellowship with God and fellow believers, and the hope of heaven.
• Why is the scariest thing about deception?
• Why is it important to know the God does not change?
• How can we know absolute truth?