Worthless and True Religion
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 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 (James 1:26-27).
We are not saved by religious works, but we are saved to do religious works (see Eph. 2:8-10).
What is the difference between worthless and true religion?
- Worthless religion is knowing God's Word but disregarding it.
- True religion is knowing God's Word and doing it.
Doing the Word
James gives us three characteristics of a “doer” of God’s Word.
1. A doer of the word controls the tongue (v. 26).
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things out not to be so (3:10; see vv. 3-12).
2. A doer of the word helps the needy (v. 27a)
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (2:15-16; see vv. 14-17).
3. A doer of the word resists temptation (v. 27b).
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God (4:4; see vv. 4-10).