James warns his brothers and sisters in Christ not to be deceived. The verses above reference not being deceived into thinking that God tempts. The verses below reference not being deceived into thinking that good and perfect gifts come from anywhere but God. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. All the good in my life is to be credited to God. Period. God is never bad. Period. Yes, sometimes God allows the devil to tempt us, but He does so with good and perfect intentions. I don't need to know His intentions. God might test me, but not tempt me. His tests are always about faith. This verse compares "heavenly light" to "shifting shadow darkness." The darkness is the devil who does change and deceive us. This is one way we can discern whether something is from God or from the devil. All good and perfect things come from God who never changes. God wants to give us good and perfect things. God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. He is not wishy-washy.
This verse on "every good and perfect gift" is often seen quoted on birth announcements and greeting cards. Yes, our children are a good and perfect gift from God. When our children grow up to become teens, and the days can be difficult as a parent, it is even a more opportune time to remember that they are a good and perfect gift from God. Doing a self-check of our attitude when parenting in good times as well as bad times is another way to test our own faith.
Verse 18 "Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." This verse is difficult for me to understand, so I am going to try to analyze it.
"Of his own will" is "of his own law." God is perfect and follows His own plan to perfection.
"He brought us forth" (created) "by the word of truth" (every word in Bible true). Yep. "Then God said" and man was created. A definition of "truth" is "the self-expression of God" or "the mind of God."
The words "kind of" means "sort of" or "like" or "similar" as opposed to "actual."
A firstborn and firstfruits have the same meaning in the Bible. We give back to God our firsts gifts from Him. The first of the crops are often the best. A firstborn receives the inheritance and the honor. Our "firsts" today are given back through tithing via the church offering. Fruits of faith is another thought (love, kindness).
Example of firstfruits: God creates, I use what God has created to create something new (sow seeds, make a baby, make money), I give back the first part of what is a new gift.
Following that path of thinking, God creates (brings forth us), God creates something new (a forgiven clean person), kind of like a firstfruit (other creatures being next) to give back to Himself.
Ephesians 1:12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory
Okay. That's all my brain's got at this time. I've read a lot of versions of this verse and a lot of commentaries and the interpretations are wide and far-fetched. I give up for now.