Every Good and Perfect Gift
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…

A gift is something that expresses the mind and betokens the love of the giver, and at the same time brings happiness to the receiver. What, then, is "a good gift"? That which fulfils these two requisitions. And what is "a perfect gift"? That which entirely fulfils these two ends. Now everything we have in the world — from the blade of grass, or the ray of sunshine — up to eternal glory; from the slenderest thought that darts through the mind to the highest flights of philosophy; from the earthly songs to the triumphant anthems of heaven — everything we touch, or feel, or see, or hear, everything is "a gift." A gift! We did not make it; we did not buy it; we did not deserve it. It is God who gives it, and He gives it lovingly of His own free will, and He gaves it to make whoever receives it happier and better. That is "a gift." But you may say, Is everything God gives us good? Does not He give us trials, sorrows, separations, sickness, bereavement, death? Are these good gifts?" Yes, as they came from Him they were "good." St. Paul was "caught up to the third heaven, and heard unutterable things." It was "a gift." Presently "there was given him" — it is his own expression — "a thorn in the flesh." It was "a gift," and a second gift. It was necessary to balance and make safe the first gift. Each alone was "a good gift," but the two in combination make "a perfect gift." Is there any difference between "a good gift" and "a perfect gift," or are we to take it only as a repetition of the same thought, expressing the same meaning, rising to the same climax? I think there is a difference. "A perfect gift" is one which exactly fits the minds and the taste of the receiver; expresses the whole heart of the giver, and can never be taken away. A gift which has in it perfect adaptation and eternity. Now we might say that all light — the light of the world — was but one light; but we see it broken up into its prismatic colours. There is the light of nature; there is the light of reading; there is the light of grace; there is the light of knowledge; there is the light of love; there is the light of heaven. But it all comes from the same spring, and in every case it is "the light" which is on it which makes the value of "the gift." Some of us have many "gifts." They are all "from above," from the same:Father; but from the want of "the light" which should reign in that "gift," the gift is valueless. Nay, more, it is an unfulfilled possibility; it is the handle of temptation; it turns to self, to pride, to sin. The "gift" is abused; and in proportion as the "gift" is "good and perfect," it becomes evil, and it incurs the heavier "gift" of condemnation.

(James Vaughan, M. A.)

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.

Divine Goodness in Human History
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