Pure Religion


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 (NIV)

Religion is a word that, typically, doesn’t generate the best of responses in most people nowadays.  The word conjures up images of past transgressions such as the Crusades, fallen televangelists, holy wars, etc.  In other words, it just isn’t considered a good word by most people, myself included, to tell the truth.

However, the Bible is quite clear that religion is not a bad thing in and of itself.  Certainly man’s own attempts at earning his own salvation are fruitless and lead to nothing but our own glorification rather than God’s.  However, when placed in the proper order, that is God, others, and ourselves, religion is not a bad thing at all but rather a good thing.

Now, looking at the two things mentioned in this verse that God considers to be “pure and faultless”, I like to think I have something of a handle on the first, which is to look after orphans and widows.  Lest I become too full of myself, though, I’m certainly not perfect in this area, either.  Have I always helped orphans and widows at every opportunity?  Certainly not and there’s probably no one alive or dead, for that matter, that could claim otherwise.  However, considering the second item mentioned, keeping oneself from being polluted by the world, I think the first is rather easy.

Keeping myself polluted from the world?  Wow…Considering everything that encapsulates, that’s a pretty weighty requirement to practicing true, pure religion.  I’m pretty sure I could become a monk, living away from the busy-ness of the world and I’d probably still find myself longing for some material possession, thinking some impure thought, or otherwise allowing myself to be polluted by something worldly.

I’d like to think that I’m somehow different from “the world” but am I really?  Do I stand out at all?  Well, rather than being taller and heavier than the average bear, do I bear any of the marks of a true Christian that people could actually see in my life?  Would I be found guilty of being a Christian if I were tried in a court of law?  Would there be enough evidence to convict me or would the jury have to find me “not guilty” because of the lack of evidence?  That’s one court case at which I’d like to be convicted and have the proverbial book thrown at me.  My prayer is that would be the case.

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One Response

  1. […] I’ve mentioned before on this blog, religion is not always viewed as a bad thing in the Bible, something some Christians […]

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