True Religion

True Religion

“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.”
True Religion is comprised of two parts:
1. True religion takes care to seek out and minister to those who cannot help themselves. The orphan, the widow, at that time was the MOST vulnerable class of people to exist in the society James is writing to. Note what they have in common! The widow lacks a husband, and the son lacks a father, so they have no provider. True religion in the literal sense is providing for those less fortunate than yourself, but in a more allegorical sense, it is to become like Christ and show his love to those in affliction. The role of the Husband is to be paralleled to Christ directly, the head of the Church. The role of the Father is to be paralleled with our own Heavenly Father, who has provided for our needs so that even the sparrows are looked after. As we are more valuable than many sparrows, (Matthew 10:31) let this also apply to our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Just as God looks after they, so we also should look after our widows and orphans. True religion is Biblical love embodied in Biblical roles for manhood. To provide, protect, lead, and be a relief to those in oppressive affliction.
2. Apart from the class we then have a second part, to keep oneself unstained from the world. This is the portion often overlooked. Man must love and provide but he cannot do this by the standards of the world. He is to be apart from it. This also calls us to be like God, but in the sense of being Holy. Set apart. Unstained and untainted by the world and its passions and deceptions. The latter part is looked over because while it is the more crucial of the two commands, it is also the more difficult to carry out. It is not enough to love your neighbor; you must love them as God loved them. It is not enough to provide for their needs in the body, you must also set and provide an example for the soul. The Christian cannot do charity and be corrupt, else he would be a hypocrite. Any good work done will be canceled out for rather than being done on the laurels of grace, it will be set on an altar of self-righteousness. Good works done in an unholy and worldly state are no defense against a holy God.

True Religion is to love the world, yes, but the second and more crucial bit is to not be worldly. We must adopt the widows and the orphans without becoming like the world that put them in that state.

Written by: Bill Crawford
April 2022

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