The Benevolent God
August 16, 2009
INTRODUCTION: Some of the readers of James' letter were in times of great peril and trial. Their miserable flight from Jerusalem and the ongoing persecution as Christians at the hands of fellow Jews had left them not only saying, "God is tempting me," (v.13) but mouthing the parallel logic that God is not good. James begins to respond to them in verse 16, "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers."
In the midst of their trials, James encourages the readers to stop blaming others, circumstances, or Satan, and above all, do not blame God. Realize that your enemy, your fallen-ness, your lusts, your weaknesses, your rationalizations, and your sins are within and have to be dealt with from within. When the believer wins the battle from within, he can say with Paul:
2 Corinthians 1:12, "For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you."
The context of this passage is conflict.
In James 1:13-15, he concentrates on the evil of temptation. Now, James turns the page to the goodness of God, reminding us that anything fulfilling, anything worthwhile, anything good or proper is found in the Lord. In contrast to the evil enticements that come from within us, all good gifts are from God Who is over us, and come down to us in a steady stream from the Father of lights.
Three great principles are presented in this text:
1. God is the Father, or Creator, of the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars)
2. As their Creator, He is certainly more stable than
they. With God, there is not even the slightest
change; He is immutable.
3. God is only good, and always good. This third principle relates v.17 to the preceding context. It answers the implication of v.13 that God may sometimes tempt man to evil. Though God tries the s ...
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