“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}


While James exposes false religion in the verse before hand, and is manifested in the inability to control the tongue on an habitual basis, and no matter how sincere, devoted to religious externals, even Evangelical activities, but the true indicator of what is going on in the heart is what comes out of your lips habitually! James says the person is self deceived! They can be very sincere, committed, believe the Word, got good theology, go to church, read their Bible, love to hear truth, but anyone among you who has the opinion they are religious, it is a personal opinion, it is subjective, he or she is convinced that doing the external rituals are sufficient but are not doers of the Word he says are “deluded,” self deceived and the way it is grammatically written they are continuously deluded! Outward manifestations of religious activity and no inner change that is characterized by inner control of ones speech which is only possible through the new birth as the Holy Spirit controls the individual. To profess religion and yet have a tongue, speech that is not under control equals self deception. Deluded! In verse 26 he says,” if you can’t bridle  his own tongue he deceives his own heart. His corrupt speech portrays a corrupt heart. In James he is writing about the tests of genuine saving faith. In chapter i there is the response to trials, temptations and now the test of the response to the Word. And the point here is those who have received His Word, eagerly listening, through purity, humility, obediently are those who have been inwardly changed and are being changed versus those who are religious but do not have the life of god within them and is characterized by unbridled tongue with speech that reveals the content and intent of their heart which is not obedience to His Word.They are hearers, that is their goal and end. While there are those who hear and the end is putting into practice what they have heard!  He is teaching you are not right with God if your life is not habitually characterized by obeying His Word. Not perfection but a new pattern of obedience. The one who is not saved, hears but their speech betrays the true spiritual condition of their heart! The word “religious,”in it’s adjective form has to do with ceremonial rituals of worship. Externals!This one thinks he is religious but his lips betray his true spiritual condition! “For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.  But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”-{Matt 12:34-37}. He speaks evil because that is what is within his heart!


Here James shows what God truly values. That which is “pure and undefiled,” that which is the “real deal,” that which is genuine from God’s perspective. Note it has to do with relationships. The first and greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love Your neighbor.{Luke 10:27-28}. Jesus in Luke tells the story of the good Samaritan, who upon seeing a man beaten up laying by the side of the road stops, stoops to lift him up and takes him to a place of safety and provides for him. He tells the inn keeper that he has to go on to do his business and if the man needs anything to give to him and he would pay when he returns. Contrast that with the two religious men who also saw the injured man but chose to pass by, that is lovelessness! The good Samaratin showed love that is unconditional, selfless, sacrificial, committed to the welfare of the other person’s highest good , seeking or demanding nothing in return. The man was helpless. And James speaks of two groups of people who are in need and helpless and in need of genuine unadulterated love namely widows and orphans who are in “distress.”  They were to be “visit.” them. The word is a figure of speech that refers to coming to the aid to help, comfort someone in their time of need, distress. “Visit’(episkeptomai – see study of episkopeo from epí = upon or intensifying already existing idea in verb + skopeo = regard, give attention to, look at, contemplate) literally means to look upon, to go to see, to examine closely, to inspect, to examine the state of affairs of something, to look after or to oversee. The idea of visiting is more than just making a social call.” -{preceptaustin}. “In Jewish usage, it commonly denoted to visit with the aim of caring for and supplying the needs of those visited (Job 2:11Jer. 23:2Ezek. 34:11Zech. 11:16Mt. 25:3643). The term implies concern and personal contact with the needy; it involves more than a matter of charity by proxy.”-{Hiebert}. It is in the “PRESENT TENSE” means this is to be our habitual practice or our fundamental attitude and not just a once in a life time thing. He says this is what God desires and counts as true worship, when we consider the helpless among us who are in need and take care of their needs! Timothy writes of two types of “widows,”those who have family who can help them and then those who are “widows indeed” those who have been left alone -{Read 1 Tim 5:5,10}, who the congregation is to help these people and this includes all His people, you and me! True religion is about relationships and loving those who cannot help themselves who are in real need and in whom we can help!

In times of “distress”  (thlipsis from thlibo = to crush, press together, squash, hem in, compress, squeeze in turn derived from thláo = to break) originally  it spoke of absolute, total, physical pressure on a person. In olden times in England they would place two boulders on the chest of a man to get him to confess and if not the pressure of the boulders on his chest, would crush him! It spoke of crushed beneath a weight.  It speaks of great difficulties.  It was used of the squeezing together of grapes.Such is the word “distress.” It is crushing! Thlipsis  is not speaking of some minor thing but of real pressures and hardships. Thlipsis is used 45 times in the NT.

God has a heart of love, compassion for the widow and orphan, “A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,Is God in His holy habitation.– {Psalm 68:5}. In 1 Timothy chapter 5 Paul writes to the church, and says, “Honor widows that are really widows.” That means to take care of them financially. And then he goes on with a lengthy discussion over the care of widows…in the passage. True Christianity loves. not those who love us but those who are in need, helpless, in distress, it is an opportunity to love and serve and a heart to reach out to selflessly serve them This is the heart of the believer. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.   ” -{1 John 3;16-18} . To close our heart of compassion towards those in need is a salvation revelation. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.“-{1 John 4;7-9}.  Love is the characteristic of those who are born of God. And those who love God love people who are in need and this is manifested in seeking to meet the need or the  part of what you can meet!


“to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Note the personal responsibility “to keep oneself.” He uses two words in what this means and they speak of influence, to the stained by the world, contaminated, swayed, influenced.

“TO KEEP” {tereo from teros – a guard or warden}.It speaks of guarding something that is in your possession. It speaks of  guarding, watch over attentively something that is precious. it is PRESENT TENSE, the call is to continually do this. Keep on keeping one self unstained from the world’s evil influences and all its subtle forms. This is only possible as we are in submission and in reliance upon the Holy Spirit to empower us and this He will. The call is to be mindful,vigilant, keep a watch out for yourself. Don’t neglect or be blinded to the possibility of Godless influence, that would deter, distract you from His will for you

“UNSTAINED.” – (aspilos from a = without + spílos = spot) means without blemish or defect (outward condition) and figuratively in a moral sense, pure (inward character). James is calling for those who practice Spirit empowered, Christ-like (1Pe 1:19}. Thayer writes that metaphorically aspilos meant “free from censure, irreproachable (eg, see 1Ti 6:14), free from vice, unsullied (see 2Pe 3:14note).”

“THE WORLD.” -{kosmos}. In the NT refers to this present evil self-centered (humanistic) world-system ruled, and directed by Satan (Read 1Jn 5:19Jn 12:31, the father of unbelievers Jn 8:44). This “world” system is opposed to God, His Son, His Word, His will. It lives independence, self sufficient lives, where “god” is within in many cases. The “world” sets up its own religions in some cases, forming a “god” of their own imagination that they can control. It elevates self as the highest. Has it’s own standard, pursuits and judges what “success” means. It usually revolves around pride, possessions, prestige. ” Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”- {1 John 2:15-16}.

To keep oneself unstained from the world, which speaks of the demonic system that people use that is opposed to the LORD Jesus and His Word. It is sin soaked, pride driven and self centered living, promoting. You can see the world’s value sytem in what is spoken on chat shows, humanistic in its approach trying to solve spiritual problems without the LORD. Watch movies, tv shows and its not long to see the world system promotes, glamorizes and in some cases normalizes things that Jesus had to die for. Sin!

To love the world system, its value system Paul in Phil 3:19 records, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ,whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”-{Phil 3;18-19}. ” For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,”-{Rom 8:5}. “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”-{James 4:4}.


Through His Word;

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” – {John 17:17}. His Word separates us as it gives us insight, instruction.  “ And do not be conformed {command to continualy do this}to this world, but be transformed {command to continually do this} by the renewing of your mind,so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”-{Rom 12;2}. “ Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…”-{Col 3:16}. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is ]lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. “-{Phil 4;8}. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the [a]path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!  But his delight is in the law of the LordAnd in His law he meditates day and night.“-{Psalm 1:1-2}.

” But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. ” -{James 1:22}.” The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. “-{Phil 4;9}

 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. “-{Heb 5:14}

 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; “-{John 14:21}

If we are honest at times we may say, I don’t always obey His Word, I at times choose to follow the world’s value system. But what happens when you discover you are? Is it to continue on or it to stop and say I don’t want to be life this I want to follow and obey the LORD. IT IS NOT ABOUT PERFECTION BUT ABOUT THE NEW DIRECTION you are habitually heading towards. When you find out about your imperfections in your walk, how do you respond? Indifferent? Or a desire to forsake that way and follow Him. That is the difference between the non believer who is religious and a hearer verses the one who is a doer of His Word. This doing is manifested in eagerly listening, receiving with purity, humility, obediently. And manifested in loving unconditionally, sacrificially those who are in distress habitually seeking to meet their needs having  given yourself to understand the situation and needs of widows and orphans in their times of “distress!”

Do you have a desire to obey His Word? Do you have a pattern of living to obey His Word?When you hear of people in need are you indifferent or do you have a desire to gather information not out of curiosity but out of compassion to lovingly meet their needs .

A. – We see there is a relation to others.

Do I have a desire and do I lovingly seek out to meet the needs of those in need. Or like  Annanias and Sapphira who gave for the wrong reasons and in doing so lied to the Holy Spirit. They gave out of selfish means not selfless deeds of love.

B. – We see there is a relation to self

How is my speech? What does it habitually reveal about my heart.

C. – We see there is a relation to the World system.

Am I captivated, pursuing it, loving it, longing for it,living for it as of first importance, as my highest goal, pursuit, and all it offers? Or am I keeping myself from not succumbing to it’s temptation and being a “friend” to it’s system,and those who do are a friend of the world and an enemy to God! Don’t forget this! Or like Paul can I say, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”-{Gal 6;14}. Paul says this world finds nothing in me, they desire and I in turn find nothing in their system that I desire!