Is there religion that is not pure? Is it possible to follow a religion that would lead you away from truth rather than toward truth? Could it be that all religions do not come from God … but could come from the enemy of God?
It has long been my position that much of what is called “religion” today is not from God but is from the Devil. Many religions I see today are close to what is right, but veer from the truth when it comes to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Because of this, I believe the great deceiver, the Devil, has concocted religions to become a satanic diversion of the pure message of the Bible.
James warned his readers to be careful to follow “pure religion.” “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The fact that James identified this as “pure religion” tells us that there is such a thing as impure religion. I believe that the two things James told his readers that identified “pure religion” are still the same today.
I don’t believe that the reference to visiting the fatherless and widows is to be taken specifically (although I do believe we should visit the fatherless and widows). I believe James is telling us that if our religion is pure, we will focus on people that need help, and who generally have no one to care for them. If our church is demonstrating pure religion, it will have a heart for those who are hurting. Children who are fatherless, and widows who are without a husband, need someone who will care for them.
When I say the church, I am really talking about individual Christians within that church. I don’t expect my home church to shoulder the responsibility for this, while I go about my merry way. I am a part of the church that should be caring for those who have great needs. I don’t want to depend upon my pastoral staff to do all the caring for the fatherless and widows. I want to do my part. In our neighborhood we have some widows. I want to do what I can to help them. This is a demonstration of pure religion. The second thing that identifies “pure religion” is keeping distance between the ways of the world, and my testimony. I don’t want to get as close to the world as I can. I want to maintain a healthy distance between it and me. This is a demonstration that my religion is pure. The closer I get to the world, the more opportunity it has to leave me spotted and damaged.