How do we know that we are children of God? How does pure religion manifest itself?
Turn to James 1:27 . There we read this awesome truth: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
James had told us that some seem to be religious but are not, because they do not bridle their tongues the way a believer does in fighting false doctrines, wrong presentations of God and of the salvation He realizes as a free gift which we do not deserve to any degree at any time for anything which we have done. To love God for the salvation which He brings us does not simply mean our keeping of the first table of the law, so that we do not take His name in vain, we do hallow the Lord's day, and we worship no images. It also means that we keep the second table of the law, dealing well with our neighbors, and keeping ourselves separate from the world. We do have here the two tables of the law of God. Indeed, salvation gives us the power and desire to do both of these kinds of works.
Find someone keeping only the first table of the law, and be sure that he does not have the pure religion. Likewise, keeping the second table of the law literally does not mean that we have pure religion.
It is very important, therefore, that we be doers of the Word of God, and not simply hearers. We must love God, but also love the neighbor. We must love the neighbor but also love God. Undefiled before God is keeping His whole law with the heart as well as with the strength.
What counts is whether we are undefiled before God. In love to Him we must help the fatherless in their afflictions, and also the widows in their griefs and needs.
also calls us to bless Himbrace them in our hearts, we are pilgrims and strangers in this world of unbelief and sin. And as pilgrims and strangers we are going to suffer many miseries, because we follow Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The world cannot understand us, and it hates us.
We must die in faith, spiritually, as well as live in hope. We must believe that there is heavenly glory to which Christ will bring His people. We must believe that He died to earn this for them, and most assuredly is coming to bring them unto it.
Are you persuaded of and embracing God's promise? Are you by your walk of life confessing yourself to be a pilgrim and stranger?
Pray for more strength to seek the things above, and believe that they are yours and are coming.
Read: Hebrews 11:1-16 .
Read: I John 5
Quote for Reflection:
Robert Candlish on I John 2: "This anointing is permanent; ‘it abideth in you.’ It is not a fitful emotion or wayward impulse, a rapture of excitement, alternating perhaps with deep depression. It partakes more of the nature of a calm, constant, settled conviction. Frames, feelings, fancies, are all fluctuating; they are like the surface waters of the ocean, agitated by every wind. But this inward anointing is far down in the still depths beneath. It "abideth in us;" the same always in its own inherent stillness and strength, amid whatever tossings its contact with the upper air may cause."