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The Power of the Word

January 6, 2019 Speaker: Dr. Rick Gregory Series: James

Topic: Power of the Word Verse: James 1:16–1:18

“The Power of the Word”

James 1:16-18

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”
  1. “good” [ἀγαθός] - refers to things given to us that are of the highest standards; something that is all that it should be.
  2. “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
  1. “the word of truth” is associated with the power of God - 2 Corinthians 6:7
  2. “the word of truth” is the expression of the Gospel - Colossians 1:5
  3. “the word of truth” is the summary of the entirety of God’s revelation - 2 Timothy 2:15
  4. “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 .

More in James

September 29, 2019

Fattened for Slaughter

September 22, 2019

Living by the Will of God

September 8, 2019

Being an Affront to God