“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27.
In Wellspring 17 we saw how “Light” draws people to God because they are attracted to something that resonates with their sense of “rightness”, a sort of in-built knowledge that even the majority of mankind possesses, unless it has been drummed out of them by evil companionship.
Today we are requested to think about other people and their needs, and be seen to care for them. This is also a form of “Light” by which men may be drawn to God through observing human compassion. The Scriptures emphasise this important function because it is a visible expression of the Heart of God.
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? [your family’s needs]” Isaiah 58:6-7
“I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. . . . . . inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:35-40
This emphasis is profound. Perhaps it might cause a jolt to some pastors whose view of “pure religion and undefiled” is based on their chosen denomination with its creed. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” . . . . are you not carnal? 1 Corinthians 1:12 & 3:4.
The Lord Jesus is more concerned with our daily walk than whether our theology is “orthodox”. Non-believers, even atheists, are often found to be more caring of the needy than church-goers. The nation of Israel hasn’t yet acknowledged Jesus as their Messiah, but whenever there is an earthquake, they always seem to be the first nation to offer help. Wounded Syrian soldiers cross the border, knowing they can receive compassionate medical aid in Israel. Examples are legion. Is our religion “pure and undefiled”?