Good Things from God
James 1:17-18
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss…

1. That all good things are from above; they come to us from God. Mere evil is not from above: "the same fountain doth not yield sweet and bitter waters." God is good, and immutably good, and therefore it cannot be from Him, which was Plato's argument. But for good that floweth clearly from the upper spring, there are indeed some pipes and conveyances, as the Word, and prayer, and the seals; and for ordinary blessings, your industry and care. But your fresh springs are in God; and in all these things we must, as chickens, sip and look upwards.

2. Whatever we have from above, we have it in the way of a gift. There is nothing in us that could oblige God to bestow it; the favours of heaven are not set to sale.

3. Among all the gifts of God, spiritual blessings are the best: these are called here "good and perfect," because these make us good and perfect.

4. That God is the Father of lights. Light being a simple and defecate quality, and, of all those which are bodily, most pure and spiritual, is often put to decipher the essence and glory of God, and also the essences and perfections of creatures as they are from God. The essence of God (1 John 1:5). There light, being a creature simple and unmixed, is put to note the simplicity of the Divine essence. So also the glory of God (1 Timothy 6:16). So Jesus Christ, in regard as He received His personality and subsistence from the Father, is called in the Nicene Creed, "Light of light, and very God of very God." So also the creatures, as they derive their perfections from God, are also called lights; as the angels (2 Corinthians 40:14); the saints (Luke 16:8). Yea, reasonable creatures, as they have wisdom and understanding, are said to be lights; so John 1:9. Well, then, if God be the Father of lights —

(1) It presseth you to apply yourselves to God. If you want the light of grace, or knowledge, or comfort, you must shine in His beam and be kindled at His flame. We are dark bodies till the Lord fill us with His own glory.

(2) It shows the reason why wicked men hate God (John 3:19-21). He is the Father of lights; He hath a discerning eye, and a discovering beam.

(3) It presses the children of God to walk in all purity and innocency (Ephesians 5:8).

5. The Lord is unchangeable in holiness and glory; He is a Sun that shineth always with a like brightness. This is an attribute that, like a silken string through a chain of pearl, runneth through all the rest: His mercy is unchangeable," His mercy endureth for ever" (Psalm 100:5). So His strength, and therefore He is called "The Rock of Ages" (Isaiah 26:4). So His counsel; He may change His sentence, the outward threatening or promise, but not His inward decree; He may will a change, but not change His will. So His love is immutable; His heart is the same to us in the diversity of outward conditions: we are changed in estate and opinion, but God He is not changed; therefore when Job saith (Job 30:21), "Thou art turned to be cruel," he speaketh only according to his own feeling and apprehension. Well, then —

(1) The more mutable you are, the less you are like God. Oh! how should yon loathe yourselves when you are so fickle in your purposes, so changeable in your resolutions!

(2) Go to Him to establish and settle your spirits.

(3) Carry yourselves to Him as unto an immutable good; in the greatest change of things see Him always the same: when there is little in the creature, there is as much in God as ever (Psalm 102:26, 27).

(T. Manton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.

God's Unchangeableness
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