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Pure Religion

September 2, 2017

In James 1:27 pure religion is defined as visiting orphans and widows, and remaining “unstained” from the world. For the world in general conveniently forgets, neglects, or even denounces the destitute poor. Pure religion, however, focuses on visiting and helping the poor, showing practical love to neighbors with the greatest need.

Rich Christians prefer passages in the Old Testament that refer to God’s covenant with Israel, which promised blessings of prosperity and health for those who obeyed God’s commands. Wealth then becomes a sign that they are blessed by God. And poverty is a sign that the poor are not blessed by God, due to their disregard for God.

Thus Christ’s works of mercy are exchanged for the “Protestant work ethic.” Such Protestants emphasize they are saved by faith not by works, but then think their hard daily work at their vocational “calling” has earned their “blessings” of prosperity.

But the problem of the poor is not generally due to their lack of work, but that most of their better-off employers pay poverty wages. But the rich mostly view poverty as the problem of the poor; actually poverty is the problem of the rich. The impure religion of a stained world remains devoted primarily to its own selfish ambition.

Only the pure word of Jesus (and James, and the rest of the New Testament) is true–and those doing that word remain near the bottom, serving among the most destitute. (Among many New Testament passages, note this pure religion in Acts 6:1-3 in the early Jerusalem church, as well as 1 Timothy 5:3-16 for some of Paul’s churches.)


From → Book of James

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