Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 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. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. - James 1:16-18
Man is so self-centered. We make too much about ourselves. I've heard this passage used in conjunction with finding the perfect spouse or job. I've, personally, read this passage far too many times and translated it incorrectly. I used to think that this was another passage about sanctification. This perfect gift was translated as even the trials we face. But these verses do not translate as such.
This passage translates as follows:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
This is a passage about the sovereignty, salvation and grace of God! The preceding verses in James were referring to being tempted and our stained relationship with God due to our yielding to sin. One should feel hopeless because of our struggles with temptation and sin.
The Good Gifts, better known as God-Gifts, from Heaven comprise of His Will, His Way and His Word! The edicts of God are always correct! His will is for His Name to be Glorified! This is not only good but excellent! He desires and rightly deserves the honor, glory and praise! In His infinite wisdom, He bore our and tore our sins so that they were no longer a permanent stain on our souls!
His will was to redeem us! His way was to send His Son. His Son and Word are One and the Same. The only Redemption for humanity's plague was the Word! The Word Incarnate saved and saves those who struggle with temptation because He never yielded to its influence. He abstained from sin and served as our example and substitution in life and death and the life to come.
He's the God-Gift that keeps giving because of the over abundance of His goodness and holiness. If all of humanity could not redeem themselves apart from the Gift that Christ offers, how magnificent is the Shed Blood that covers the innumerable acts of depravity since the beginning of time!
James, half-brother of Jesus, set the record straight that our temptations and sins (temptations fulfilled) are the products of our vain imaginations. Birthed out of the recesses of our hearts. We are doomed to a life of misery and disobedience.
And yet I repeat:
James holds up his proverbial "hand to the face" to smack down any hopelessness we would feel because of the remorse of falling into sin. He's reaffirming the celebrated assurance of being anchored in Christ. Paul said it best:
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. - Romans 8:1
Our sin is annoying and offensive to God and it should also be offensive to us. Why? Because of the the other perfect gift from Heaven which is the Seal that Christ laid upon us through His Death and Resurrection. The inscription of our names in the Book of Life (another good gift from above) resuscitates our hopelessness and drives us to shame but most important: repentance.
Why? Because of our Relationship with our Creator and Redeemer. The final God-Gift! God offers us a Relationship that mutes the imitations of reason found in the many religions of the world, including atheism. They offer rules and regulations that many ascribe the Bible! What they miss is the focus of God since the beginning of time: A Relationship through Redemption.
Look at the religions of the world. What assurances do they offer that are within the same spectrum of what God offers?Most die in their faith hoping to find solace and favor. We understand that death ushers us into the Presence of the Most Glorious, Benevolent and Holy One. Paul summed it best:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. - Philippians 1:21
No other belief can match the consequences of a life that embraces the God-Gift called Christ! That is why everything from Heaven is good! That is why we should not faint to our trials but allow Christ to stand us in the midst of the darkness. How beautiful at these words of the psalmist:
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. - Psalm 40:1-2<
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. - Psalm 18:2
This is the God-Gift we proclaim to give the right glory due His Name! The Bible is no mere book! It is the oracles of the God-Gift we do not deserve! Make the most to let the God-Gift be seen in you to others that they too might enjoy the God-Gift!