The Book of James picks up where the Book of Hebrews ended. In Hebrews we met Jesus, witnessed the faith of the Old Testament saints, and were instructed to look to him who is the author and finisher of our faith. James picks up the faith theme. He reveals it as more than an abstract concept.
Faith finds its substance in the Father of lights.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above,
and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with him is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning.” (1:17)
Faith receives every good and perfect gift from the Father.
Wisdom is one of those gifts.
“If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him …
the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
The gifts the Father of lights gives are not as people offer. These are from above – eternal. They are good and perfect. 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Ephesians chapters 1 and 4, and Romans 12 mention others and that’s just for starters. But all are found in the One the Father gave who is good and perfect and came from above.
Jesus is the One.
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.”
“And a certain ruler asked him, saying,
Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
And Jesus said unto him,
Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.” Luke 18:18,19
You might think this is an odd verse to show Jesus as good. In essence He is saying to the young man, do you believe I am God.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
- God was manifest in the flesh,
- justified in the Spirit,
- seen of angels,
- preached unto the Gentiles,
- believed on in the world,
- received up into glory.” 1Timothy 3:16
Jesus proved his perfection in his life, death, and resurrection.
“And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox,
- Behold, I cast out devils, and
- I do cures to day and tomorrow
- and the third day I shall be perfected.” Luke 13:32
He is the One who came down from above – the only one who could pay the unblemished perfect price to give us eternal life.
Jesus testified to the crowds,
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven:
if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever:
and the bread that I will give is my flesh,
which I will give for the life of the world.”
Yes, He came down from heaven, and as we are told in Acts chapter 1, He returned to heaven. But James tells us to hang in there when times get tough, for the Lord is returning. He even uses the unwelcome “P” word to encourage us.
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.
Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient;
stablish your hearts:
for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
In other words I have heard and used often, “This too shall pass.” And when it does pass think of the glorious gift that is ours.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:
for when he is tried,
he shall receive the crown of life,
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
The Father of lights has given and continues to give us many good and perfect gifts wrapped in the person of his Son. So, when trials of faith come, let’s remember his promise in Romans 8:28.
“And we know
that all things work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
And as we remember, let’s ask him to open our eyes to see the good that He will bring us even in the trial of our faith, knowing this trial will pass. It is hard to say “Thank you” when hurting, but it’s our turn to offer the Father of lights a gift.
“For here have we no continuing city,
but we seek one to come.
By him therefore
let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,
that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
How do you hold on to an enduring faith when life gets hard?