The second characteristic is,
THAT PURE RELIGION IS A SERVICE OF LOVE.
The service that is under the review of God, is the visitation of the fatherless and widows in their affliction, Verse 27. It is a service after God’s own heart; for He is a Father to the fatherless, and a Husband to the widows. Whilst these two afflicted peoples are mentioned, we cannot doubt but that it also includes the poor, the sick, and any who need help among us.
Taking the precept in its literal sense, it becomes a matter-in-point for every local body of Christians carrying out New Testament principles. (See Acts chap. 7). Most assemblies have their sick-visiting arrangements, and their ministrations to the saints in need. It is here that James certainly supplies us with the Divine warrant and encouragement for doing so. Where it is not always possible for individual saints to benevolently supply a need, it is more likely possible for the assembly to do so. To visit …would comprehend every practical expression of Christ-like and unselfish love to the needy and afflicted saints.
A recent visit to an elderly brother in hospital, brought forth from his heart, as overjoyed with the response of the saints to his need, “There is no love so affectionate and dear, like the love of Christ in His People.”
This injunction implicates the great principle of Hebrews, chapter 10, v. 24-25. “Love ye one another.”
Briefly and finally,
PURE RELIGION IS A DEMONSTRATION OF UNWORLDLINESS.
Herein lieth the secret of the whole. To be unworldly is to be otherworldly or heavenly-minded. Pure religion has got neither time nor place for the fashions, customs, conventions and standards of this world. . If the local church would be the light arid salt of its neighbourhood, its individual members must keep themselves unspotted from the world. The tragedy of a Worldly Church Member is that he prejudices the power and testimony of the assembly. It does not confine itself to the serious nature of such a one attending the Lord’s Table with husks in his garments; but alas, that the whole effective life of the church is endangered. The curse of the Corinthian church was that the commercialism, vice, and worldliness of Corinth defiled its precincts. The responsibility of the individual church member, is to Keep Himself unspotted from the world.
Pure religion therefore, as touching myself, issues in control of the tongue; in respect to the saints it issues in love and service; and as regarding the world, “I am crucified thereunto.”
To speak in grace; serve charitably; and live unspotted before God the Father.
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