D2 Believers Should Realize Actions Speak Louder Than Words James 1:26-27
James 1:26-27 WEL If anyone among you seems to be religious and does not control his speech, he deceives his own heart. This man’s religion [is] useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God, even the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unblemished from the world.
Seems to be religious=
- The Greek word for religious is θρησκός thrēskós. It means worshipful, pious, religious, and caring about the outward form of religious duties, actions, and rituals.
- Seems means seems. The understanding of this is an outward form of being religious, not inward. An inward religious faith will be seen outwardly, since we live what we really believe.
- Being religious outwardly is deceptive. The practitioner seems to be the most holy person, but in private, they are not. The outward deception would lead a person to believe they are right in God’s eyes when they are not at all.
Luke 11:42 NRSV But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practiced, without neglecting the others.
◦ Galatians 6:3 NRSV For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves.
◦ 1 John 1:6 NRSV If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true.
• The opposite is seen
◦ In James 1:27
◦ Galatians 5:22-23 NRSV By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
- The Greek word is χαλιναγωγέω chalinagōgéō. It means to lead an animal by a bridle, so controlled and restrained.
- This is aligned with James 1:19 in being quick to listen, slow to talk, slow to anger.
- Proverbs 13:3 NLT Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.
- The Greek word is ἀπατάω apatáō. It means being fooled into believing something that is not true.
- Self-deception is one of the worse of deceptions (2 Timothy 3:7).
◦ People flatter themselves that they are good and right with God and that they are not evil or sinful: Psalm 36:2 NET for he is too proud to recognize and give up his sin.
◦ 1 John 1:8 NLT If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.
◦ Church members can be deceived, too, in thinking they are spiritually rich and gifted. Revelation 3:17 NLT You say, 'I am rich. I have everything I want. I don't need a thing!' And you don't realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
The person described is seen by God as being empty. Their “religion” is worthless.
- Pure and undefiled religion=
- Religion is the same word as verse 28.
- Pure and undefiled is according to God’s standards, not ours, the churches, or the worlds.
- Deeds show the true belief of a person. Things done in private are important, for people can be willfully deceptive outwardly, as we have seen.
- Before God and Father=
- God sees all we do and think.
- He sees our motives.
- Two examples are given—visiting the Christian needy especially orphans and widows and to be unblemished by the world’s worldview and lifestyle.
- Meeting needs in priority
◦ My spouse first (God has no needs), then my children, then the members of my Christian fellowship, then the greater family of Christians, and finally unbelievers.
◦ Orphans and widows. Orphans before widows. Just giving money is not the same. If possible give personally face to face to help meet all needs.
▪ John Wesley writes on this verse: The only true religion in the sight of God, is this, to visit - With counsel, comfort, and relief. The fatherless and widows - Those who need it most. In their affliction - In their most helpless and hopeless state. Note, relief has the idea of physical needs (food and shelter), emotional needs, and spiritual needs.
▪ Remember Luke 10:25-37, the illustration of the Good Samaritan giving help to the needy.Unblemished from the world.
◦ The Greek word is ἄσπιλος áspilos. It means to be free from scandals and evil (1 Timothy 3:7).
◦ Not living the world’s way (Galatians 5:19-21), thinking the world’s way (Colossians 2:8, 1 John 2:15, 1 Corinthians 3:19-20), or anything of the world’s standards and beliefs (Romans 8:7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9).
- Why do actions reveal more about us than words?
- What does our speech reveal about us?
- What does God look at more than words or deeds?
- How can we avoid being self-deceived?
How can we help our brothers and sisters?
A Few Thoughts on the Epistles of James—James 1:26-27
James, speech, façade of righteousness, true righteousness, meeting needs, self-flattery, self-deception