Scripture : James 1:17
” Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. “
The apostle James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning”
(James 1:17) God is the Father. As the Father, He loves to give gifts to us His children. There are two kinds of the Father’s gift: The good gift and the perfect gift. The good gift is the gift for temporal use while the perfect gift is the gift for eternal use.
Why is God called the Father of lights (James 1:17)? The picture that the apostle James used to describe God is the sun. The sun is the source of all lights for the earth (the light of the moon is actually from the sun). The sun gives its light freely to the earth. God is the source of every good gift and every perfect gifts for us (the good gifts that we receive from people are actually from God). God freely gives His gifts to us because He is the Father who loves us so much. The apostle Paul wrote, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
The sun which is used by the apostle James to give the picture of God as the Father of lights is not the sun in the morning until noonday or the sun in the afternoon until the evening, but the sun at its zenith at noon. When the morning turns into the afternoon, there is variation in the position of the sun, resulting in the turning of the shadow on the ground. But when the sun is at its zenith, it shines in its strength and there is no variation nor shadow of turning. Unlike man who is fickle, who easily changes in his heart from so ready to give to not so ready to give, God is always so ready, even eager to give. There is never any shadow from God that will make us feel that He is not always so ready to give His gifts to us.
The apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) The gift of God is not something that we are entitled to receive or we can work for; but it is His grace, something that He freely gives to us out of His great love and mercy for us. The nature of this gift is spiritual although it can have a physical manifestation. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the Holy Spirit, are examples of the gifts of God that are purely spiritual. Healing and provision are examples of the gifts of God that are spiritual but have physical manifestations.
As the Father of lights God has given two greatest gifts for us. One is His own Son whom He gave about two thousand years ago. When Jesus asked for a drink from a woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well, He said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (John 4:10) Jesus referred to Himself as the gift of God. The other is the Holy Spirit whom He has been giving since about two thousand years ago. When Simon Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, he said to the people, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39) Simon Peter said that the Holy Spirit was the gift that God promised to give to the people in every generation, as many as He would call.
The only begotten Son of God Jesus Christ is the greatest one time free gift ever from God because this gift is eternal life. The apostle Paul wrote, ” For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) He is the greatest gift because He opens the way for us to receive all other free gifts from God. The apostle Paul wrote in another place, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) How do we receive this greatest gift from God? Because God actually gave this gift about two thousand years ago, so we do need to ask for it. All we have to do is believe that God has given this gift for us. When we believe this, we shall receive this gift. What about if we have believed and received this gift? We should be thankful and continue to believe.
The Holy Spirit is the greatest continuous free gift from God ever because this gift is divine nature. The apostle Peter wrote, “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4) He is the greatest gift because He opens the way for us to receive other free spiritual gifts and His manifestations. The apostle Paul wrote, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:” (1 Corinthians 12:7) How do we receive this greatest gift from God? Because God gives this gift continuously, so we can ask for it at any time. The Lord Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13) If we have never received the Holy Spirit, then we should ask God to give us the Holy Spirit. If we have received the Holy Spirit, then we should continue to receive the Holy Spirit by continual asking. To always receive the Holy Spirit every time we ask God, we must have a fully surrendered heart.
God gave us His Son, so that by believing in Him we pass from death to life. The Son of God Himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24) God has been giving us His Holy Spirit, so that by receiving Him we experience abundant life. In another place, the Son of God said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) When we are in death, we are slaves of the devil. Spiritually, we are poor and miserable. When we are in life, we are free. Spiritually, we are prosperous and happy. When we are in abundant life, we reign. Spiritually, we are very rich and overflowed with joy.
Does God as the Father of lights also give us physical and material gifts, such as food, clothing, money? Yes, He does. They are God’s good gifts for temporal use. But, God gives the physical and material things as “spiritual” gifts from Him. It is like the Lord Jesus. He is a Man, but He does not come from men. He is God who became a Man. He is the perfect spiritual gift from God that manifests physically. So, the physical and material gifts from God may come through men, but they do not come from men. They will be given as free gifts, not as the things purchased by money or obtained by works.
The physical and material things that we have can either be given to us as spiritual gifts from God or as the things that we buy because we have money and we have money because we work. If we have them because we buy them with money or we work for them, then they are not gifts from God. God’s gifts are given in God’s ways and God’s way is always the spiritual way. He gives supernaturally and freely. Like it has been quoted before, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)