Saturday, August 27, 2011

James - part 9 - That's one fantastic God!

Dear readers,

Last time we talked about lust and how it turns into sin, which then turns into death. This time is better news...


James 1:17
Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


Every. All. No other.

James states here that all good and all perfect gifts are from above. That means that no perfect, or even good, gift can come from anywhere else. Everything of value, everything of worth, comes from above, comes from God. That implies that all the "good" gifts that people give here on earth don't even compare to the gifts given by God. He loves us more than anyone else ever could. He loves us more than we can even fathom.

But James doesn't end there. Not only do they come from God and they're the greatest gifts in the universe, but James describes God as the Father of lights. In Revelation, when John tells of the New Jerusalem, he says that there are no sun, stars, or moon, but God Himself lights the city. God doesn't need physical light like we do. He CREATED light! He is the Father of lights. But, is this what James means? Is James speaking of physical light, or something else?

I think James might be thinking of something else...

Perhaps James is not speaking here of His physical light, but rather of His constancy. Natural light is constant if you think about it. Yes, clouds, trees, buildings, and even the earth, get in the way of the sun - our source of light. But does the sun ever really "set"? Does it ever fail? Does it ever just cease to shine? Does it ever just leave? No. It's the same with God. He never fails to love us. He never fails to care about us. He never leaves.  He IS perfect. He IS love. He IS faithful. Just like with the sun, sometimes we can't see the love of God because things get in the way. Perhaps this is what James is speaking of.

"With whom is no variableness." God doesn't change. Yes, He repents of things, and He does listen and respond to our prayers. It is recorded in the Bible that He has changed His mind. I don't want to go into this much right now, mostly because I am honestly trying to figure this out myself. But you can hold onto this: God's character doesn't change, and neither does His Divine plan for us and the entire world, but - He does change His mind on occasion in accordance with our requests and our sinfulness. Think, for example, of the Flood, the Bible says that God repented that He had made man on the earth. Think also of the multiple passages that tell of Him rejecting Saul as king of Israel and putting David up there instead. God put Saul on the throne, but later He repented that He had done so. Do not think, however, that God repented because He was wrong, He is perfect and therefore cannot be wrong. God simply made His already perfect plan for the world better.

"Neither shadow of turning." I think that James is saying here, that just as God doesn't change, He doesn't even think about changing. He doesn't even contemplate making a decision that goes against His character. Why? Because He is eternal and all-knowing. He is God. He doesn't change, and He doesn't even think about it. 

Now that's a God you can rely on! One who's plan for YOU was laid out thousands of years before you were born. One who knows EXACTLY what's best for YOU.

That's the God I trust.

In Christ alone,

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