One Of My Favorite Verses
This past Sunday, I preached on James 1:12-18. Within the first chapter of this book, James addresses people by encouraging them to “count it all joy” and to know that God intends good for them – that their faith in the Lord would be trained. He does not want to see double-mindedness. Instead he spurs them on to emulate God’s single-focused liberality. He ensures them that the temptation they are facing is not from the Lord, but instead their own flesh trying to take them down.
So, how do we persevere? How do we stand against the onslaught of temptations during the trials we will face? Remember, we are to persevere by faith in God. That’s where verses 17-18 comes in.
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.
You might be tempted to think, “This situation I am in is too unbearable” – not remembering that God provides His children with a way of escape in every temptation. You might be tempted to think that God has forgotten you, and you want to quit. But, James gives a final blow to any of those thoughts in verse 18 (one of my favorite verses in the Bible). Just as the Father of lights said, “Let there be light and there was light,” He also said, “Let there be spiritual life, and there was spiritual life in His children!” What James is saying here is that God is the ultimate giver of great gifts and he never ceases to give great gifts. The ultimate gift is the one of salvation that keeps you secure in Him and won’t allow temptation and sin to completely and decisively overtake you. God’s salvation will keep you secure in trial and will ensure that you will remain steadfast under trial until you receive the crown of life.
James is using some very strong language here. More literally, James is saying, “Having made his decision….” God made His decision to rescue His children! Your ultimate confidence does not rest in your abilities. It rests in the God who made His decision for you and set his love on you before you even loved Him. It rests in a God who sent His Son to die in your place while you were yet a sinner. Therefore, because God made a decision for you, nobody and no circumstance can thwart God’s plan. God has made his decision. He remains steadfast towards you. He is resolute to every good giving and every perfect gift towards you in order that you may be perfect, complete – lacking in nothing!