Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.James 1:27(NASB)
There is a saying that: “Christianity is a relationship and not a religion', and in many respects this it true, but perhaps it would be more accurate to state what the Bible says - that Christianity is: the only pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father.
Paul often writes about the 'Jewish religion' and warns against the 'religion of angels' as well as 'self-made religion'.. and he reminds the church that we should put our religion into action, while Peter admonishes carnal Christians that their behaviour brings the Christian religion into disrepute. Paul also warns against an outward appearance of religion, while the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah calls the religions and customs of idolaters - worthless.
In this passage on a pure and undefiled Christian religion, James encourages us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger and righteous in all our ways. He reminds us that our services should mirror God's Word of truth and that our lives should be separated from ungodly behaviour and worldly pursuits - for failure to do so causes our Christian witness to be worthless, which he reminds us will make the Christian religion vain and ineffective.
James outlines his definition of 'pure and undefiled religion, in the sight of our God and Father' as being:- to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world - in brief, as members of Christ's body, our lives should be a reflection of the Lord Jesus Christ in us - through a practical demonstration of loving acts, kindly deeds and gracious words.
We all know about the saying that: “Christianity is a relationship and not a religion', but sadly many in Christendom today have brought the pure and undefiled Christian religion into disrepute though false teachings; doctrines of demons; foolish predictions; avarice and greed - a mockery of biblical prophecy; a lack or reverence for the Lord; a redefining of the gospel of Christ and an incorrect interpretation of the Word of Truth.
As the times in which we live become darker and darker may we draw closer to the Lord with every passing day, as we seek to know more of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And let our hearts desire be to reflect the yearning desire of the ageing apostle Paul, who near the end of his life cried out: that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection and participate in the fellowship of His suffering - so that our Christian religion may be pure and undefiled and our relationship with the Lord Jesus become increasingly intimate.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word of Truth and the wisdom that it contains. Help me to live my life as unto the Lord in close communion with Christ so that my Christian religion may be pure and undefiled in Your sight. I pray that the words of my mouth may be gracious.. and that the works of my hands may be carried out to Your praise and glory - so that my life becomes a reflection of Christ in me, the hope of glory, in Jesus name I pray. AMEN.