[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]
Focus Verse of the Week
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Every good gift and every perfect gift
This describes a myriad of gifts, whether of nature, providence, or grace, and especially the latter: spiritual gifts given along with Christ, or spiritual blessings in him. Every such gift is, as the Vulgate Latin version reads, the "best" gift, better than those which only relate to the present life, and is "perfect." Examples include the gifts of righteousness, remission of sins, adoption, regeneration, and eternal life. The Jews say that the good things of this world are not truly good in comparison of the good things of the world to come, and are not "a perfect good." And every such gift is from above. It is not from a man's self, from the creature, or from below, but from heaven, and from God who dwells there.
and coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights;
Or author of lights; of all corporeal light, as the sun, moon, and stars; of all natural, rational, and moral light, in angels and men; of all spiritual light, or the light of grace in regenerate persons; and of eternal light, the light of glory in the spirits of just then made perfect:
who does not change like shifting shadows:
As there is in that great luminary, the sun in the firmament, which has its parallaxes, eclipses, and turnings, and casts its shadow. It rises and sets, appears and disappears every day; and it comes out of one tropic, and enters into another at certain seasons of the year. But with God, who is light itself, and in him is no darkness at all, there is no change, nor anything like it. Because he is holy, he cannot turn to that which is evil; nor can he, who is the fountain of light, be the cause of darkness, or admit any darkness in him; and since every good and perfect gift comes from him, evil cannot proceed from him, nor can he tempt any to it.
(Adapted from John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, James 1:17.)
A Thought to Keep
Man's gifts will eventually crumble into dust, but God's gifts are perfect and complete. His gifts last an eternity. Do you thank God for these gifts with as much enthusiasm as you thank a family member for a Christmas gift? How about more?