Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
True Christianity is not about religion, rather it is about a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Religion can be understood simply as human efforts to achieve favor with God. Christianity, however, is about God taking the initiative toward us and calling us to respond in faith. We cannot achieve a right relationship with God through religious routines and efforts. However, for those who have received a personal relationship with God through faith in Christ, there is an element of true religion that plays a legitimate role in the Christian life. According to this passage, James gives two principles that define authentic Godly religion: mercy and purity.
- Christians must show genuine love and active compassion for those in need. In New Testament times, orphans and widows had few ways to support themselves, and they often had no guardian or helper. God’s people were expected to show them the same care and love that God shows toward the fatherless and widows. Today, when we notice people in need of practical assistance, we should do what we can to alleviate their distress and show them that God cares for them.
- Christians must reflect moral and spiritual purity, which involves keeping “oneself from being polluted by the world.” James says that love for others must be accompanied by a love for God expresses in holiness or it is not true Christians love.
And finally some questions you should ask yourselves when evaluation your personal spiritual progress in these areas should include, “Is there anything that I am hiding or compromising morally?” (purity); and “To whom am I showing God’s love by serving, befriending or helping them?” (mercy).
Today’s Bible Readings:
Numbers 26:52-28:15, Luke 3:1-22, Psalm 61:1-8 and Proverbs 11:16-17