James 1:16-18 – An accurate understanding of God

Introduction: God has given us the privilege of being His children (John 1:12). As his children, our faith is tested, that it might produce steadfastness for our maturity (James 1:2-4). With respect to temptations, each is “lured and enticed by his own desire,” for God himself “tempts no one” (1:13-14). This points us to the necessity for every believer to have an accurate knowledge of God, based on what He has revealed about himself from His Word, the Bible. 

  1. Do not be deceived” (1:16)— to be “deceived” means to be led away from the truth or to be led into error, to be led away into sin. This points to what Satan does and who is, as revealed to us in God’s Word. He leads away from the truth into error. He appears as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), even quoting Scripture (Luke 4:9-11), mixing truth with lies (truth, twisted, is not truth at all). He is the father of lies (John 8:44). He blinds the minds of the unbelievers (2 Cor 4:4). 
  2. In contrast to the Enemy who seeks to destroy, God gives “every good and every perfect gift” (1:17)— James’ emphasis here is the act of giving and the goodness of the gift (Ps 85:12), pointing to who God is and to the goodness of His gifts. He is good (Ps.106:1, 107:1). In the context of James 1, remember— the very trials given to us are for our good, for God is good (Ps. 118:1,29). Goodness is a clear attribute of God.
  3. God is “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17). “Father of lights” speaks of God as Creator. He is revealed as unchanging and unchangeable in His nature and His promises (Malachi 2:6, Lam.3:22-24). When we speak of change, we think of either changing for the better or for worse, which can never be applicable to God. He cannot improve or get worse because He is perfect. Thus, it is impossible for God to change. He is not like a “shadow” that shifts or changes (James 1:17). Immutability is a clear attribute of God.
  4. God reigns as Sovereign LORD, as revealed in James 1:18– “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” Consider Ephesians 1 and other cross references. God is the Sovereign LORD— all powerful and all knowing. Know Him more and more through the study of His Word, the Bible! 

Listen to the words of the Song: “You are Always Good” by Jonathan Hamilton

Summary: James reminds believers that it is necessary to have a biblically accurate picture of Satan, the deceiver; and, to know the one true and only Sovereign God who created all things and who is in control over all. God is always good and he is unchanging in His goodness. As declared to us from His Word, His goodness should lead us to repentance! (Romans 2:4)

Listen to the sermon here.

Print your tickets