The Power of the Word
Topic: Power of the Word Verse: James 1:16–1:18
“The Power of the Word”
Theme: Instead of blaming God for our sin, believers must credit God for redeeming us through His Word.
I. The Faithfulness of God Who Gives His Word - v. 16-17
A. The Perfection of God’s Gifts - “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above …”
- James provides an admonition to those tempted to accuse God of wrong-doing in their temptations - “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”
- God will never be involved in things that are designed to our detriment - but will only provide things that will produce greater godliness.
- Hence, what comes from God are things that are consistent with His character - “good” and “perfect”
- “good” [ἀγαθός] - refers to things given to us that are of the highest standards; something that is all that it should be.
- “perfect” [τέλειος] - refers to gifts that are fully developed and adequate for the need of the hour; that is, there is no deficiency or need for additional development or resources.
- As such, there is no way at all that God can be faulted in our failure in temptation - since all that He is involved in providing us is sufficient to sustain us in our temptations.
- Ultimately, God’s gracious provision for us is His Word - described as “good” and “perfect” through Scripture - cp. Psalm 119:9
- Later in this chapter, James will describe God’s Word as the “perfect law” [this same word as used in our verse] - cp. v. 25
B. The Peculiarity of God’s Glory - “… coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
- The faithfulness of God is demonstrated by contrasting Him to the celestial lights that He created - that go through cycles of change from morning to evening.
- As the “Father of lights,” He has “no variation or shifting shadow.”
- God’s immutability is here highlighted - whereby He is more constant the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens - cp. Malachi 3:6
- Thus, we never fear that God could somehow change His mind about being faithful to us or about tempting us with evil.
- God will always be as reliable in the future as He has been in the past!
- In addition, His Word will never change either - cp. Psalm 119:89; 1 Peter 1:25.
II. The Faithfulness of God Who Uses His Word - v. 18
A. The Elective Purpose of God - “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth …”
- One of the ways that God’s reliability is seen is that He has demonstrating His heart of righteousness, not by leading us into temptation, but by instigating redemption instead.
- God is credited by James with the instigating, initiating, and innovative energy to deliver sinners from their sin.
- It is the “exercise of His will” that God decides to take action necessary to save us.
- God is identified here in His relationship to sin - not as an instigator or tempter, but as the deliverer - cp. John 1:13.
B. The Exercised Power of God - “… He brought us forth by the word of truth …”
- God’s decision was to give life to us - to give birth - cp. James 1:15
- This is the miracle of regeneration - whereby a sinner is “born again” through regeneration - cp. Ephesians 2:5-6
- The evidence of this work is a life that is reconciled to God, transformed, and progressively growing in conformity to Jesus Christ.
- “the word of truth” - the means by which this is accomplished is the message of the Gospel - through the Word of God - cp. 1 Peter 1:23
- “the word of truth” is associated with the power of God - 2 Corinthians 6:7
- “the word of truth” is the expression of the Gospel - Colossians 1:5
- “the word of truth” is the summary of the entirety of God’s revelation - 2 Timothy 2:15
- “the words of truth” are considered to be “life and death” - cp. Acts 26:25
- In our text, it is viewed as the power by which dead sinners are made alive and reconciled to God.
C. The Enduring Promise of God - “… so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.”
- Yet God was not finished saving people through the power of His Word in the 1st century - He continues to deliver sinners to this very day!
- This is the significance of His statement of our being “a kind of first fruits among His creatures” - that His intention was to gather a full harvest over the centuries until the day of Christ.
- Throughout the Scriptures, the “first fruits” were the first and best of the crops that were harvested - an indication of what was to be gathered throughout the harvest.
- “among His creatures” expands the focus beyond humanity and demonstrates that all of creation will one day enjoy the restoration brought by the Lord at the 2nd Coming - cp. Romans 8:19-22
- Believers are constantly being “harvested” according to God’s eternal purpose - with the final harvest constantly in view - cp. 2 Peter 3:10-13 .