THE GIVER OF GOOD GIFTS
Reading James 1
GREATEST BENEFACTOR: In His advance and approach to mankind, God is evidently, as announced in our text, is a benevolent giver. He can rightfully and righteously be termed the greatest benefactor in the universe. He has no equal or peer or anyone to rival Him in this area. The bestowals and bestowments of God are unparalleled and mark Him out the most wonderful giver of all. The Scriptures detail Him in this regard as the One who knows how to bountifully bless the sons of men with choice gifts – v17.
DIVINE NATURE: It is the nature, character and will of God to give. Just as it is the nature of the sun to give light and warmth, the spring to gush forth refreshing water, the tree to produce blossom, leaves and fruit, so it is with God. It is the outgoing and out-flowing of His being and nature. Because He is essentially love, it is evident and logical to expect that there will be an unrestrained and unreserved giving. Love desires and delights to bestow. He is most favourable and generous in His disposition. It is good to recognises that there is no change in His eternity and nature – TCNT “who is Himself never subject to change.” It is not only His nature to give, it is His will to give and He intends, plans and determines to bestow in fullest measure gifts and blessings on all of His creation. There is no mean streak in God.
“Some people give according to their means, others according to their meanness.”
GOOD GIFTS: It is the nature and character of God to give good and perfect gifts. There is never any design on God’s part to bestow evil. It is entirely contrary and foreign to His nature. Christ gives teaching on this subject and points out that God only bestows the most excellent and best of blessings – Luke 11: 11-13.
The Bible highlights God as a Giver and Bestower. In creating this world, God gave it to mankind, His creatures, for their blessedness and enjoyment. He should be seen and acknowledged in this light. The trouble with man is his nature: he abuses and corrupts the best gifts.
The Bible reveals man as the Receiver. In receiving gifts there must be an appreciation of two factors:
• Divine Favour. The gifts of God are given not according to merit or credit or works but by reason of divine favour and love. A true gift is not earned; is not bestowed on the basis of good deeds and service. A gift is over and above the principle of receiving by reason of labour. Wages are given to those who work. Man in and of himself has no rights or claims on God. It is He out of His free grace and good will that blesses and bestows. The system of man’s free giving is so often corrupt
• Divine Faith. There is the need to believe that the gift(s) are for you and you must believe to take and experience. There is something required beside the mere intellectual nod, the mental assent of mind. Faith appropriates and lays hold of the proffered gift – vv5-7.
There are many gifts God wants to give to those who are in a mind and mood to receive them. He is not stinted or limited in His activity at any time to those who are ready to appropriate.
(1) THE GIFT OF CHRIST
The best possible gift that God could give to the sons of men, to you, is the gift of the person of Christ, His beloved Son. God did not withhold giving His only begotten Son when it was required and demanded. The finest way and measure in which He could truly and fully enrich human society was in and through Him. He spent a tremendous amount of time in preparing for His advent so that He could bless and benefit the world.
• In the gift of Christ is the gift of God Himself. God could do no better that give all that He had and that all was presented in Christ. Deity wrapped itself, not in beautiful wrapping paper, but in flesh and blood, the parcel of humanity. What man needed was God and God came in the person of Christ. Man needed to be enriched, made prosperous, and so Christ came in presence and power to enhance the whole world that lay in poverty and degeneracy. All human gifts are paltry and ordinary in comparison.
• In the gift of Christ is the gift of gifts for many gifts proceed from Him. In receiving and possessing Christ one inherits and receives all other choice benefits. Everything is stored and treasured in Christ.
Illustration: Tower of Lord – a jewel or the possession of the Tower – its contents
Bank – a cheque or the bank?
Granary – a bag of corn or the granary?
A man is a fool that rejects Christ. To have the giver is to have the gifts – Romans 8:32
(2) THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
The answer to the question whether we shall live forever is to be found in having Christ now – 1 John 5: 11, 12; John 3: 16; Romans 6: 23. It means having the same qualitative life that Christ possessed. There is an exchanging of that which we have, which is sinful and degraded, for that which is of the purest and highest nature – the life of the Eternal.
Certainly, many would not be interested in living forever in this world in a tormented and tortured body. Many are fed up and browned off, depressed now and take their own lives. But who would not want to live in a sound, healthy body, in a heavenly atmosphere and environment free from greed, war, care and the evils of this life. The future life with Christ is to be one of freeness, freshness and fulness. Man will really start to live when he arrives in heaven because there will be the knowing of many more choice gifts.
(3) THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
It is God’s purpose in Christ to provide the fullest, deepest, sweetest and greatest life here and now for the receiver and believer. He wants to grant abundant life. Life that is rich, full and effervescent – that which bubbles and springs forth and flows out. He not only gives eternal life but adds to it by the Holy Spirit.
Illustration: A dying person can be said to have life but one would not categorize it as abundant. It is mere existence! Compare it to that of a child or teenager abounding with energy etc.
The Holy Spirit comes as the Energiser, Comforter, Inspirer, Encourager, Counsellor, Instructor, Director and Advocate.
• Through Him you are to be enlivened – made alive to God and the things of God
• Through Him you are to be energised – to possess power to perform and act
• Through Him you are to be equipped – given what is necessary to be and to achieve
Illustration: At Caesarea Philippi – the temple of Pan – Greek god – powerful underground springs that flowed right from within the former temple – Ezekiel 47
(4) THE GIFT OF PHYSICAL HEALTH
It is a tremendous thing to have good health. It is well to know that God desires that we should possess and enjoy it to the full. Are there any indications from the Bible that God wants to bestow health and vitality and healing to those who require such? Can hope rise to the point where we can expect and receive healing from Him.
• Proven by His promises. The point to be made is that God has revealed by sure promise that this is His intention. He stands revealed as the Healer and affirms His ministry – Exodus 15: 26; Mark 16: 18; Luke 10: 9
• Proven by His deeds and works of power. From the Scriptures alone it is discovered that He cured all forms of sickness and diseases. All who came to Christ went away with the gift of healing – Matthew 12: 15; Luke 18; 35-43
The great question: “What wilt thou that I shall do unto you?”
One of the reasons for the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to quicken and bring healing gifts – 1 Corinthians 12: 9, 10.
Can God heal? Of course He can. Does He want to heal? Without a doubt!. You can receive your healing today through Christ by the Holy Spirit who is the Healer and is unchanging – Hebrews 13: 8
Illustration: During the Spanish War, the late President Roosevelt, then a colonel, commanded a regiment of rough riders in Cuba. He became much attached to his men and was greatly concerned when a number of them fell sick.
Hearing that Miss Clara Barton (the lady who devoted herself to the work of nursing wounded soldiers) had received a supply of delicacies for the invalids under her care, Col. Roosevelt requested her to sell a portion of them for the sick men of his regiment. His request was refused. The Colonel was troubled; he cared for his men and was willing to pay for supplies out of his own pocket.
“How can I get these things?” he asked?” “I must have proper food for my sick men.” “Just ask for them, Colonel.”
“Oh” said Roosevelt, his face breaking out into a smile, “That’s the way is it? Then I do ask for them.” He got them at once.
It is up to you to perceive and receive the truth as it applies to you. You are to behold God as the untold and bounteous Giver and Benefactor in and through Jesus Christ. Your view of God will determine whether you will know and enjoy the fulness of His benefits.
The essential thing to know is that God’s favour is towards you and that you must learn to believe and take from Him what He offers. Do not miss out on the goodness and generosity.