Skip to main content

James 1:27: Religion That Is Pure And Undefiled Before God The Father

James 1:27
[27] Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)

James continues defining true religion for us. James moves from dealing with the genuineness of our talk (verse 26) to the genuineness of our walk. True religion visits orphans and widows in their affliction. This visitation is not just showing up and walking away, but bringing relief to them. In our world, there is a tendency to do things only if there is a benefit for us. Even churches can fall into a terrible practice of only reaching out to those who can support the church in some way.

We can go out of our way to help someone, because we realize they are a large contributor to the work of the Church. That is not true religion. That is true hypocrisy. James is describing a ministry to those who were completely incapable of giving anything back in return. We need to not only reach out compassionately to those in need, but we need to do so, expecting nothing in return. We need to have compassionate hands that reach out to the hurting, without judgment, without expecting reward.

James tells us that not only should we have compassionate hands, but clean hearts. Scripture continually uses the imagery of a clean heart before God. It is easy for that heart, cleansed by God, to get stained again with the filth of the world that we live in. Now, when James refers to “the world,” what is he talking about? It is not the physical sphere that we live on. Rather, it is a system of belief and action that is against God and his perfection. Chuck Swindoll describes it this way:

“The world system is committed to at least four major objectives, which I can summarize in four words: fortune, fame, power, pleasure. First and foremost: Fortune, money. The world system is driven by money; it feeds on materialism. Second: Fame. That is another word for popularity. Fame is the longing to be known, to be somebody in someone else's eyes. Third: Power. This is having influence, maintaining control over individuals or groups or companies or whatever. It is the desire to manipulate and maneuver others to do something for one's own benefit. Fourth: Pleasure. At its basic level, pleasure has to do with fulfilling one's sensual desires. It's the same mindset that's behind the slogan: "If it feels good, do it." 
- Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.219.

I get so disgusted when I hear of choices that my government has made. I feel hopeless sometimes. I even act surprised when the world around me displays such a strong desire to rebel against God. How silly. I should expect the world to act in rebellion. I should expect the sinful world system to act in accordance with Satan. My job is to not be stained by the world. That is true religion. We cannot always change the world around us, but we can refuse to allow it to change us.

Is your religion true? You will have to check your motives. When you give to others do you expect something in return? Are you living by God's standards or the world's standards?


Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18 [18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV) Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic. Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison. Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death,

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14 [14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV) The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers. Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church. This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to t

Romans 15:22: This Is The Reason Why I Have So Often Been Hindered From Coming To You.

Romans 15:22 [22] This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. (ESV) Paul was quite the traveler. As an Apostle to the Gentiles his task was literally to take the Gospel to the entire known world at the time. Many of the Epistles that Paul writes are letters written to places where he has already been. He preached the Gospel, many were saved, churches were planted, and Paul moved on to a new area. Rome was a place that Paul had never been to. He writes this entire letter to people whom he had never met. As an Apostle to the Gentiles he wanted to give them the good solid teaching they needed to grow in their faith. Likely, someone who was converted on the Day of Pentecost went back to Rome and first shared the Gospel there. Paul says that he has been often hindered from coming to Rome. He could have argued that all kinds of circumstances would not permit him to get to Rome. Paul would not have blamed circumstances. He would have understood that it w