James 1:26-27 Main Point: Pure religion is serving your neighbors in affliction and pursuing personal practical holiness, rather than worthless, externally religious deeds with unhinged speech. Applications: 1. People were already deceived in their hearts; thus the need for James to specifically address the situation or state of a believer's heart. 2. Religion cannot be pure [as God intended] if there is not a change in a person's speech. 3. There are outward manifestations of the inward religious beliefs [beliefs about who God is and does in relation to ourselves, i.e. Jesus and His work on the Cross and gift of the Holy Spirit]. 4. If you truly take religion of Jesus Christ seriously [i.e. Gospel], then that faith / belief will be worked out by loving God [pursuing holiness] and loving your neighbors [most vulnerable being orphans and widows].
Main point summary
Pure religion is serving your neighbors in affliction and pursuing personal practical holiness, rather than worthless, externally religious deeds with unhinged speech.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If you think that you are religious
q and does not bridle his tongue
and likewise do not keep your words
but deceives his heart,
and then deceives himself with his heart or true loves,
this person’s r religion is worthless.
then this person with these qualities and character have worthless outward devotion and religion.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
But now I [James] will tell you truly what real authentic religion is before God, the Father:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
namely 1) acknowledge and help via practical love and hospitality those most marginalized without protectors i.e. widows and orphans.
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and also 2) pursue personal set-apartness from the wickedness of the world's pleasures and pursuits (i.e. unstained holiness before God).