James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
The Bible shows us that God desires to give gifts to man. God created a beautiful garden for man to live in. He provided all that man needed to live eternally in that garden. The tree of life was in that garden. There were all the herbs and fruits needed for man. There was no sin and there was no death when God created man.
Adam chose to reject the gifts that God had provided for him. He did not know what sin was. He did not know what evil was. He chose to believe the lie of the devil and he immediately became a sinner and he also immediately knew what evil was. The problem was that it was too late. Adam chose not to live by faith and wanted to live by sight and by experience. He could not turn back the clock. God had warned him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam did not gain anything in eating from that tree. He lost everything when he ate of the fruit of that tree.
God drove Adam and Eve from the garden. They now needed coats to wear as a constant reminder of the need for a covering for their sin. Today many people want to undress in public in defiance of God’s law.
James was directed to challenge the brethren to trust God. They needed to live by faith. James challenged those who lack wisdom to ask God for wisdom. He also reminds us that when we ask for wisdom we need to ask in faith, nothing wavering. If we doubt God’s truthfulness and goodness, we cannot expect to receive His wisdom. James tells us this.
The Bible is clear. We can trust God absolutely. We have the entire Bible and as we, those who are saved, read it faithfully, God will show us just how faithful He is. He never picked anyone up and just let him drop. He never guided anyone to go the wrong way. He never had to confess that He made a mistake. The same is still true today. God’s Word is a timeless book. From the time of the fall of Adam to the time of this present generation, the nature of man has not changed. We do not need an updated version of the Bible. We do not need to “dumb down” the Bible either. It is God’s eternal Word and It is the answer to all of man’s needs.
I received an invitation from a well known religious leader, inviting me to a leadership conference next year. This year’s conference is over already and he wants me to consider marking it on my calendar for next year. The problem with this man’s conference is that he is acting as a gateway between “fundamental” Baptists, and the emergent church movement. For those who are wondering, his name is Paul Chappell. He is more dangerous than a man like Kenneth Copeland. I don’t believe that Independent Baptists would fall for Mr. Copeland’s heresies. There are many who are falling for Mr. Chappell’s deceptive ways.
God offers us wisdom, if we will ask Him. If we take Him at His Word, we cannot help but see the deception that is so subtle and so powerful to the undiscerning person. There are men who have been in the ministry for longer than I have been, who have fallen into this present trap. How can that be? James tells us that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. CCM is not from above. It is a bridge to get people over to even more ungodly music. Showmanship is not of God. God talks of the simplicity of the Gospel. True churches do not compete with the world. The world has nothing to offer. James will point this out yet as well.
God is the giver of good gifts. We noted yesterday that the devil tries to get true saints to fall. He loves to cause trouble. He is called the accuser of the brethren. God not only provides salvation, but He also provides wise counsel to help those who are saved to know how to walk.
There are many today who set up shop to be counsellors. My understanding is that they charge a hefty fee for their counsel. Most of the counsel these people give is not worth the time it took to receive it. God’s Word has all the counsel we need. Godly pastors are gifted by God to study and rightly divide God’s Word. There are others who can also give counsel, but they need to be taught and constantly studying God’s Word to give right counsel. We do not need all kinds of books written by men to teach us how to give counsel. We need to know how to study God’s Word and we need to be bold and humble to give wise counsel even when it is not popular. Wise counsel is one of God’s many good gifts.
We learn here as well that with God is no “variableness”. The Greek word translated as “variableness” means “fickleness”. God does not look at the person and determine his status or his wealth and then set His counsel to appease the person. God is consistent with His counsel.
We know that our judicial system is extremely corrupt. It matters a great deal what your status is with them. We have a P.M. who can do no wrong in the eyes of our system. Others who would do the same things would pay dearly for the same offences.
God’s counsel is the same for the P.M. as it is for the janitor. All need to repent toward God and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone to be saved. All need to understand their need to be saved. Those who take on greater responsibility will be held accountable for the influence they sought to have over people.
We read as well that there is no shadow of turning with God. He does not even suggest that He might change His mind on something. While Jesus was on earth, the hypocrites accused Him of eating with publicans and sinners. They were suggesting that Jesus was one of them. They rejected His deity and were being led by the devil to try to discredit Jesus. Jesus proved that He loved sinners enough to be holy in their presence and yet be able to speak to them of their need to be saved. The Pharisees, who were also sinners, rejected His holiness. They rejected His message. They rejected Him.
James tells us we can trust God completely. There are still those who want to play the same dangerous game the Pharisees played. They want to discredit the holiness of Jesus Christ. They want to make Him like sinful man. James tells us there is no shadow of turning with God. If we follow His counsel we will never be ashamed.
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Israel could take comfort in the fact that God does not change. The laws He gave to Abraham and to Moses and to others are all the same. It is important to know this true God and to trust in Him fully.
In verse 18 we see that God alone decided to bring man into being. Then, by His Word of truth, He saves lost sinners. Jesus told Nicodemus: “ye must be born again.” God did not need to provide salvation for man but He did so because He is a good God and His gifts are perfect. There is nothing lacking in His gifts. Those who turn to God and are saved can agree with the Psalmist when he declared:
Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Men like Paul Chappell are suggesting in a very subtle manner, that the Bible does not work all by itself. They suggest that we need a more modern platform in order to reach this generation. Those who love numbers will be impressed by the large following and influence he has. They will not take the warnings of God seriously. They will not look at the fruit of his efforts in his own son. It is one thing for a child to go astray. It is another for the parents to endorse that apostasy.
God designed man to be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. Those who trust in the Lord for their salvation are in a privileged place among mankind. Those who are lost have chosen to remain in that place. They would rather bang their heads against the wall and wallow in the slime of sin, rather than be set free and set upon THE Rock.
God’s gifts are good and perfect. They are just what we as people need. Those who are saved have the privilege of telling others of God’s wonderful gifts by their words as well as by their actions. Let us take up the task God has given us and seek to help others to know the true God in these last days.
There are those reading these devotionals that are not saved. Some profess to be saved, but they do not have a godly testimony. Why not humble yourself before God today. Stop fighting against the truth. Don’t settle for that humanistic brand of “Christianity” that keeps you in fear and bondage. Trust in the true God today and begin to enjoy His blessings. Get into a good Bible-believing church that can help you to walk in obedience to God’s Word.