Main point summary
If inwardly you think you're a Christian but outwardly speak with impulsiveness, then your religion is empty! But a pure religion is one that shows outward acts of love and inward motive for holiness
If anyone thinks he is religious
If anyone think he is religious (or to be more specific: claim to be a Christian)
q and does not bridle his tongue
yet does not control what he says (speak with impulsiveness)
but deceives his heart,
then you are lying to yourself (you think you are 'religious' but the fact that you are unable to control your tongue you are shows that you are not religious, you are lying to yourself if you think you are religious)
this person’s r religion is worthless.
and your religion is useless, it is just for show.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
Alternatively , religion that is pure and undefiled before God the father is this:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction (show OUTWARD acts of compassion and love to the lowly and outcasted)
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and to keep yourself untainted from the world ( INNER holiness, purity)
Inwardly think you are a Christian
Outwardly show no fruit of it
Contrast it with verse 26b when the 'fake' Christian outwardly shows no fruit of being saved by being unable to control his tongue
Contrast with verse 26a when the fake Christian only claims to be a Christian mentally but the lack of his acts of holiness shows that it is merely mental
Do you think you are a Christian? The answer to this question might seem trivial. Of course you are a Christian! But do we altogether brush off this question too easily? It's one thing to think, but a whole different story to live it out. In fact, how these 2 realities (our thinking and how we actually live) correlate; this very much defines the difference between a genuine faith and empty religion. Growing up a Christian, I have always been taught to answer "Yes" when asked: "Are you a Christian?". Yet James challenges the very fundamental concept of my thinking. If I simply claim to be a Christian yet am not able to control my tongue, speaking impulsively, speaking words that hurt, blurting out exclamations of pride, saying careless words, words that would offend and words that are "Unchristian" like; then according to James, I am simply practicing empty religion, a religion that seems to pay lip service to God. It doesn't matter what I think, If I think I am a Christian yet not live out and not speak as to how a Christian should, then it doesn't matter; I am lying to myself if I am a Christian. But, what makes my this religion called "Christianity" pure, genuine, real? It's not just what I think, it's not just how much I think I am a Christian, but it is how I am living. Am I living in a way that reflects the glory of God through outwards acts of love and kindness to the poor, the needy, the outcasted? Am I living in a way that would radiate the very fragrance of Christ by my inward desire for holiness, not allowing my mind or soul to be corrupted by the world? I now know, it does not matter how much I "Think" I am a Christian. I can have the greatest mental capacity and be totally convinced in my mind, but unless my inward conviction of my religion has been validated by my outward acts of love; it does not matter. Therefore, let us pursue real and genuine religion, one that is validated by our outward acts of love and inward desire for holiness.