James 1:17 says,“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
What are the gifts?
1 Corinthians 12 gifts… spiritual gifts, tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, working of miracles, gift of healing, faith.
Ephesians 4 gifts…apostlic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, teaching.
Romans 12 gifts… Prophecy, ministry of helps, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, showing mercy.
I find it interesting that a double emphasis is put on the gift in this passage and even more interesting that there are two words used to describe the gift, that would seemingly hold the same definition. Good and perfect would seem to be relative to one another, so what’s the difference between a “good” gift and a “perfect” gift?
Taking a look at the word good, it means, to be of good constitution or nature. Constitution refers to the physical makeup of an individual, in regard to the appearance of such an individual. We’re talking about the one who the gift came from, so that constitution would be Father God’s. And the nature referred to here is very much the same, yet speaks of creative power as well. The power to act and something interesting is that is speaks of disposition…what is transferred to another. It is the essentially useful gift. It’s meant to be put to use.
When we use the good gift, it’s going to look like Father and what He himself created. And with it, we create. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1 and in verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25 that God saw that it was good! In fact, when you read it, in it’s original context, the words it was were added. So it should read, God saw that good!
You see, after the fall of Adam, what was good was no longer ours. We had to work for it. The law required it. But since Jesus, the cross and the resurrection, good has been restored to us through grace. And that word gift is simply another word for grace. And as we use the gifts or the graces that God has given us, we create again in this earth that is rightfully ours through the blood of Jesus. We have been restored to the good!
Now, how about perfect? There is a perfect gift. Why the distinction? Well, perfect means to be brought to it’s end, finished, wanting nothing, complete. To be perfect is not about being “flawless”. It’s about fulfilling our purpose. Matching our integrity, moral character and virtue with God’s and doing His will in this earth. Psalm 37:37 says, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”
We also know that the Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus was made perfect in that he became the author of eternal salvation to all that would obey him. If it was about being flawless, it wouldn’t have applied to Jesus. It was about becoming His purpose.
When we use the perfect gift, we become the purpose God created us for.
And He is the Father of lights. I find it interesting that the word light translates of truth and it’s knowledge but more than that, it’s the truth and knowledge that is exposed to the view of all, openly and publicly.
In Him there is no variableness nor is there shadow of turning. God never turns from His purpose…His perfection. And if we are to be like Him, perfect as He is perfect, then we must use these gifts and not turn from the truth. No more me and my shadow.