Words of Faith 4-15-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
In these verses, James followed up on his argument that God is not the author of temptation. In doing so, he revealed some marvelous things about the nature of God.
First and foremost, God is the giver of good gifts! Instead of sending temptation, God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. This concept of goodness totally rules out the possibility that God would send an influence as destructive as temptation. God's gifts are marked by kindness and helpfulness, not destructiveness. They are "perfect," which in this context excludes any possibility of moral evil, such as tempting his people to commit sin. The point of James' statement is that nothing but good comes from God.
God does not change. He is the Father of the heavenly lights, and unlike the "shifting shadows" that are caused by the sun, moon, and stars, God does not change. With Him, there is no variation at all. The shadows cast by the sun are minimal at noon, but just before sunset, they stretch out for yards across the landscape. God is not like that. He does not change. He is always the giver of good gifts. He is never a sadistic being who would entice his creatures to destroy themselves in sin.
Rather than acting destructively, God acts constructively. He chose to give us birth both physically and spiritually! He did not have to do so. James was probably talking mostly here about spiritual birth because it is through the word of truth, that is, through the gospel. But the big point is that God accomplishes this action by his own deliberate choice.
It is indeed a profound thing that God chose us. We are chosen, people. In our perspective of free will and stubborn self-reliance, we often miss the degree to which our birth was the choice of God. Yes, we choose God, but not until long after he had chosen us. Yes, we pursue God in all the endeavors of life, all the way until He catches us. We are not an accident!
You are uniquely created and uniquely re-born in Christ through the Word of Truth, the Word of God that brings us into contact with the Truth. God's Word does not return empty. So, our redemption is never a source of pride or arrogance or an opportunity to judge or malign. The larger purpose of God is a great work of redemption.
God's purpose in regeneration is that we might be a kind of firstfruits. The term "firstfruits" referred to the first portion of the harvest given to God, a foretaste of that which was to come. The firstfruits were rejoiced over! So it was that the early Christians were a preliminary indication of the great host of people who, through subsequent centuries, would be born again.
And even we are the firstfruits of what is to come. And just how does that happen? Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). It is in that personal encounter with Jesus causes us to come to life.
The interesting thing about firstfruits in the Hebrew culture was that they were always sacrificed at the Temple. The folks James wrote to were going through tough times, but their sacrifice would not be in vain. The sacrifice of the firstfruits to the Lord is our act of faith that declares: "I trust that God is not finished and is going to do more. There is more blessing to come. We are the firstfruits. We are intended to be a light to the world. But only as we offer ourselves back to Him."
Offer your day, your very life, to Him.
Lord, make me new through Your Word of Truth. Allow me to recognize Your hand in life as well as Your purpose. Allow me to be offered for Your glory. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.
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