Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no ficklenss…
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE GIVER.
1. The designation employed by the apostle is fitted to elevate our conception of Deity. God is "the Father of lights," the Creator and Governor of sun, moon, and stars. "God is Light." Not only has He kindled the luminaries of space, He is the Lord of all light, both physical, and also intellectual and moral.
2. The description of one of the Divine attributes exhibits the character of God still more clearly and delightfully. With Him there "can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning." There is no fickleness or caprice in the heart, in the action of the beneficent Almighty.
II. THE QUALITY OF HIS GIFTS.
1. They partake of the nature of their origin. "From above." "What have we that we did not receive?" Yet too many men are like the swine that feast upon the acorns, but look not up to the tree whence the fruit falls. There is a Divine flavour, a Divine fragrance, a Divine beauty, in all the gifts of God.
2. They are good. They have all of them a natural goodness, and they are all a means, if used aright, to moral and spiritual goodness, and thus lead to something better than themselves.
3. They are perfect.
(1) Commensurate with the character and resources of the Giver.
(2) Adapted to the recipient.
(3) Complete, being finished as they are begun.
III. THE SPECIAL ILLUSTRATION OF DIVINE GOODNESS. Instead of charging God with tempting us to sin, we are directed to observe, and gratefully to acknowledge, the provision He in His wisdom and love has made for our highest welfare.
1. What it is — the new life. "He begat us," or "brought us forth," — as it is differently translated. Our thoughts are thus led to the supreme blessing of God's covenant of grace. Has God given us His Son? He has done so that we might have life, eternal life. Has God given us His Spirit? He has done so that by that Spirit we might be born anew. The new, the higher, the spiritual life of humanity is the great fact of revelation, the great fact of the world's history.
2. Its origin in the Divine purpose. This gift came from God-"of His own will." Christians are "born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
3. Its means and instrumentality. A moral end must be effected by moral means.
4. Its end. That "we should be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures," is His aim in all He has done for our salvation. The early Christians were the first-fruits of a spiritual harvest, comprising the Church of Christ in all lands and through every age. Application:
1. Here we have an incentive to gratitude.
2. An inducement to confidence.
3. An encouragement to prayer.
4. An inspiration to hope.
(J. R. Thomson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.