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God the Only Source of All Good

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God the Only Source of All Good

Jam. 1:16, 17. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 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.

THERE is much evil in the world. But people are little aware from whence it proceeds. We forget that at the first creation there was no such thing as evil, either natural or moral, in the whole universe. God, it is true, could have prevented the existence of it: and so he could have prevented the existence of the world itself, which only came into being through the operation of his sovereign will and of his almighty power. It is not for us to inquire, why he permitted evil to exist. Doubtless he will ultimately be glorified in all that he has done, yea and, on the whole, in all that he has permitted, though we cannot exactly say how that glory shall accrue to him. All that we, in our present state, are called to, is, to feel and to maintain that he does all things well: that, however he may permit, he does not do evil; but that, on the contrary, all good, and nothing but good, is to be ascribed to him.

Now it is of great importance that we should, at least as far as regards ourselves, have just views of this matter, since for want of them we greatly err. So, the Apostle evidently intimates in the words which we have read: from whence I will take occasion to shew,

I.    The true character of the Deity—

He is here declared to be the only, and the unchanging source of all good—

1.   He is the only source of all good—

The sun in the material world may properly be called “the father of lights,” because there is no light but what proceeds from him. The moon and stars only reflect the light which they receive from him. Thus is God to the whole creation the only source of light and life. There is no “good and perfect gift,” but proceeds from him. In nature, all the worlds were framed by him, and everything in them was fitted for its peculiar use, and for the benefit of the whole. In providence, everything is ordered with unerring wisdom to sub-serve the designs of God, and to accomplish his holy will, yea, and ultimately to further the welfare of all his chosen people———In grace this appears in a still more striking point of view. Every good disposition is formed by him in the heart of man, which, without the agency of his Spirit, would continue one entire and unaltered mass of corruption through all eternity. If we either will or do anything that is good, it is in consequence of his electing love and sovereign gracea———

2.   He is the unchanging source of all good—

If in the communication of good he in some respects resembles the sun, he in other respects differs widely from it. The sun, though the fittest emblem that we have of immutability in dispensing good, has yet its changes, both annual and diurnal, and at different seasons of the day and year, casts its shadows in a widely different form, according to the quarter in which it shines, and to its position in our hemisphere, as more vertical or horizontal. But not so Jehovah, the Father of all heavenly lights. There are no changes with himb. “With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” To his believing people he is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for everc.” True, his light may be intercepted by a cloud: but he himself remains the same: and let only the cloud be dispelled, and he will shine as bright as ever on the believing soul———

Now that you may see how important this view of the Deity is, I beg you to notice,

II.   The errors we run into for want of duly adverting to it—

We err exceedingly,

1.   In a way of self-vindication—

This is the precise point to which St. James directs our attention. After saying, “Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth he any man: but every man, when he is tempted, is drawn away of his own lust and enticed;” he adds, “Do not err, my beloved brethren. 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:” Evil is from yourselves, and from yourselves alone: good, and only good, is from God.

Now you cannot but know, that, like our first parents, we are ever ready to exculpate ourselves, and to cast the blame of our sins, either on the tempters that led us to them, or on the propensities which God himself has implanted in us. But in both of these cases we do, in fact, cast the blame on God, as either immediately or remotely the cause of the evils we commit. But beware of all excuses, be they what they may. The fault is all your own, and nothing but humiliation and contrition will become you to the latest hour of your lives———If ever you perish, you will have none but yourselves to blame.

2.   In a way of self-dependence—

We are ever prone to look for some good in ourselves, instead of seeking all good from God alone. But it is in vain to rely on any wisdom of our own to guide us, or strength of our own to support us, or righteousness of our own to justify us. Satan himself may as well look for these things in himself as we: and it is on this account that God has been “pleased to treasure up in his dear Son a fullness of them, that we may receive them all from him” from day to day, and from hour to hour. Know ye this, that in yourselves “ye are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;” and “from Christ alone can ye ever receive raiment to cover you, or gold to enrich you, or the eye-salve” that shall administer healing to your organs of vision. “All your fresh springs must be in God,” even in God alone———

3.   In a way of self-applause—

We are no less prone to take to ourselves credit from what is good, than to shift off from ourselves blame in what is evil. But “if we differ from others or from our former selves, who is it that has made us to differ? or what have we that we have not received from God himself?” As well might the earth boast of its fertility independently of the sun, whose genial rays have called it forth, as we arrogate to ourselves honor on account of any good that we have ever done. If you would see what the earth would be independent of the sun, go to the polar regions in the depth of winter. And, if you would see what you yourselves would be independent of God, go down to that place where God never comes by the operations of his grace, and where the damned spirits are left without control. If there be any good in you, it is from Christ that you have received it: for “without him you could do nothing.” If you have attained to anything more than ordinary, you must say, “He that hath wrought me to the self-same thing is God.” Even if you equaled the Apostle Paul in holiness, you must say, “By the grace of God I am what I am;” and in reference to every individual act, “It was not I, but the grace of God that was with med.”

Application—

Do not err then, my beloved brethren”—

Be aware of your tendencies; and remember how to correct them. You never can err in taking shame to yourselves: nor can you ever err in giving glory to God. But if you arrogate anything to yourselves, you will rob God: and, in robbing him, you will eventually, and to your utter ruin, rob yourselves.”[1]

 

 

a Phil. 2:12, 13.

b Mal. 3:6.

c Heb. 13:5, 8.

d 1 Cor. 15:10.

[1] Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, pp. 32–35). London: Holdsworth and Ball. (Public Domain)

God the Only Source of All Good

Jam. 1:16, 17. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 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.

THERE is much evil in the world. But people are little aware from whence it proceeds. We forget that at the first creation there was no such thing as evil, either natural or moral, in the whole universe. God, it is true, could have prevented the existence of it: and so he could have prevented the existence of the world itself, which only came into being through the operation of his sovereign will and of his almighty power. It is not for us to inquire, why he permitted evil to exist. Doubtless he will ultimately be glorified in all that he has done, yea and, on the whole, in all that he has permitted, though we cannot exactly say how that glory shall accrue to him. All that we, in our present state, are called to, is, to feel and to maintain that he does all things well: that, however he may permit, he does not do evil; but that, on the contrary, all good, and nothing but good, is to be ascribed to him.

Now it is of great importance that we should, at least as far as regards ourselves, have just views of this matter, since for want of them we greatly err. So, the Apostle evidently intimates in the words which we have read: from whence I will take occasion to shew,

I.    The true character of the Deity—

He is here declared to be the only, and the unchanging source of all good—

1.   He is the only source of all good—

The sun in the material world may properly be called “the father of lights,” because there is no light but what proceeds from him. The moon and stars only reflect the light which they receive from him. Thus is God to the whole creation the only source of light and life. There is no “good and perfect gift,” but proceeds from him. In nature, all the worlds were framed by him, and everything in them was fitted for its peculiar use, and for the benefit of the whole. In providence, everything is ordered with unerring wisdom to sub-serve the designs of God, and to accomplish his holy will, yea, and ultimately to further the welfare of all his chosen people———In grace this appears in a still more striking point of view. Every good disposition is formed by him in the heart of man, which, without the agency of his Spirit, would continue one entire and unaltered mass of corruption through all eternity. If we either will or do anything that is good, it is in consequence of his electing love and sovereign gracea———

2.   He is the unchanging source of all good—

If in the communication of good he in some respects resembles the sun, he in other respects differs widely from it. The sun, though the fittest emblem that we have of immutability in dispensing good, has yet its changes, both annual and diurnal, and at different seasons of the day and year, casts its shadows in a widely different form, according to the quarter in which it shines, and to its position in our hemisphere, as more vertical or horizontal. But not so Jehovah, the Father of all heavenly lights. There are no changes with himb. “With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” To his believing people he is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for everc.” True, his light may be intercepted by a cloud: but he himself remains the same: and let only the cloud be dispelled, and he will shine as bright as ever on the believing soul———

Now that you may see how important this view of the Deity is, I beg you to notice,

II.   The errors we run into for want of duly adverting to it—

We err exceedingly,

1.   In a way of self-vindication—

This is the precise point to which St. James directs our attention. After saying, “Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil; neither tempteth he any man: but every man, when he is tempted, is drawn away of his own lust and enticed;” he adds, “Do not err, my beloved brethren. 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:” Evil is from yourselves, and from yourselves alone: good, and only good, is from God.

Now you cannot but know, that, like our first parents, we are ever ready to exculpate ourselves, and to cast the blame of our sins, either on the tempters that led us to them, or on the propensities which God himself has implanted in us. But in both of these cases we do, in fact, cast the blame on God, as either immediately or remotely the cause of the evils we commit. But beware of all excuses, be they what they may. The fault is all your own, and nothing but humiliation and contrition will become you to the latest hour of your lives———If ever you perish, you will have none but yourselves to blame.

2.   In a way of self-dependence—

We are ever prone to look for some good in ourselves, instead of seeking all good from God alone. But it is in vain to rely on any wisdom of our own to guide us, or strength of our own to support us, or righteousness of our own to justify us. Satan himself may as well look for these things in himself as we: and it is on this account that God has been “pleased to treasure up in his dear Son a fullness of them, that we may receive them all from him” from day to day, and from hour to hour. Know ye this, that in yourselves “ye are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked;” and “from Christ alone can ye ever receive raiment to cover you, or gold to enrich you, or the eye-salve” that shall administer healing to your organs of vision. “All your fresh springs must be in God,” even in God alone———

3.   In a way of self-applause—

We are no less prone to take to ourselves credit from what is good, than to shift off from ourselves blame in what is evil. But “if we differ from others or from our former selves, who is it that has made us to differ? or what have we that we have not received from God himself?” As well might the earth boast of its fertility independently of the sun, whose genial rays have called it forth, as we arrogate to ourselves honor on account of any good that we have ever done. If you would see what the earth would be independent of the sun, go to the polar regions in the depth of winter. And, if you would see what you yourselves would be independent of God, go down to that place where God never comes by the operations of his grace, and where the damned spirits are left without control. If there be any good in you, it is from Christ that you have received it: for “without him you could do nothing.” If you have attained to anything more than ordinary, you must say, “He that hath wrought me to the self-same thing is God.” Even if you equaled the Apostle Paul in holiness, you must say, “By the grace of God I am what I am;” and in reference to every individual act, “It was not I, but the grace of God that was with med.”

Application—

Do not err then, my beloved brethren”—

Be aware of your tendencies; and remember how to correct them. You never can err in taking shame to yourselves: nor can you ever err in giving glory to God. But if you arrogate anything to yourselves, you will rob God: and, in robbing him, you will eventually, and to your utter ruin, rob yourselves.”[1]

 

 

a Phil. 2:12, 13.

b Mal. 3:6.

c Heb. 13:5, 8.

d 1 Cor. 15:10.

[1] Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: James to Jude (Vol. 20, pp. 32–35). London: Holdsworth and Ball. (Public Domain)



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