SOAPing the New Testament – James 1:17

[17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

My brother, Tony, posted “Is God Responsible for my Temptations and Sins?” earlier today. He used James 1:13-15 as the basis for his post. Check it out. I would like to add my own post on verse 17.

James moves from talking about temptations (that God never gives) to telling us what God does give. Every good and every perfect gift. He reminds us of God’s goodness. When we are faced with trials, they are not to tempt us to sin, but rather they are to strengthen us and make us more Christ like. God does not produce evil because His nature is good. Every gift that God gives to us is good–it is sufficient, it lacks nothing, it is beneficial and complete.

The second portion of this verse states that these gifts come “down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James chose the phrase “Father of lights” because it was a Jewish phrase which referred to God the Creator of the heavenly “lights”. What I like is the part that says, “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” God never changes. He doesn’t shift. God’s mercy never ceases and nothing can stop His goodness.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your good and perfect gifts. Thank you for your unchanging character. Thank you for the trials that you send to strengthen my faith. Help me to be more like You. Amen.

This verse brought this 18th century hymn by Robert Robinson to mind, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. I pray the words will bless you.

1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

2. Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I’m come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
daily I’m constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.


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