Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:16-18
James begins today’s passage by telling us not to be deceived. The word in Greek that James used here is “planao” which means: to lead astray, cause to wander, deceive or to be deceived/deluded. What James is telling us here is not let others lead us astray about God and the things he can and will do for us. Which is why he follows up the command “Don’t be deceived” with this phrase “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”. The phrase “Father of the heavenly lights” refers to God who created the lights that rule days and seasons. The phrase “who does not change like shifting shadows” alludes to the fact that God’s nature is unchanging and that his promises are secure. Which is a reminder that the things that you will hear from the world about the nature of God are not true and that they are in fact an attempt to lead astray.
James concludes this section with these words, “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created”. The phrase “word of truth” refers to the gospel, by which new “birth” comes. The phrase “firstfruits” refers to the best that the harvest produces. God gives good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires. But these good gifts only come about with our new “birth though the word of truth”. Which is James’ way of saying the spiritual salvation that only comes from accepting and responding to the truth about Jesus. And you respond to the truth about Jesus in this way:
- We have to recognize that everyone sins.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”-Romans 3:23 NIV
- We have to recognize the penalty for our sin is death.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 6:23 NIV
- We have to believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”-Romans 5:8 NIV
- In order to be forgiven for our sin, we must believe and declare that Jesus is Lord, because our salvation only comes through faith in Christ.
“But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”-Romans 10:8-10 NIV
If you are ready to declare with your mouth what you believe in your heart, then simply pray this simple prayer:
Dear God, I know that my sin has separated me from you. Thank you that Jesus Christ died in my place. I ask Jesus to forgive my sin and to come into my life. Please begin to direct my life. Thank you for giving me eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.