Main point summary
Being a doer with true belief will be characterized by honoring God in thought, word, and action, not characterized by inconsistent actions and beliefs.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If someone has the idea that he believes in God
q and does not bridle his tongue
yet, he does not try to guard what he says,
but deceives his heart,
but fools himself to the core, [belief with no change in action and speech is not true belief]
this person’s r religion is worthless.
Then this person's belief in God means nothing.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
However, belief that God sees as true and pure in heart is characterized by this:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
care for the suffering helpless who cannot repay you,
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and guarding yourself against unbelieving patterns of thinking.
Caring for people without looking for earthly reward, and being cautious to not jump on board a culture's ungodly beliefs and passions both demonstrate a fear of God, not man.
This guy thinks he has faith in God, but his actions demonstrate otherwise when he doesn't care if his tongue honors God or not.
James just talked about being a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only, so now the challenge is to examine whether you are a hearer only or a doer. If you don't care if your speech honors God or not, even if you think you believe in God, your belief doesn't mean anything. But if you have seen the glory of Christ and the horror of sin which caused Christ's death, you do not take sin lightly. If you treat others as God has treated you (seating you at His table when you were an enemy who could not repay Him), and you fear beliefs from the world that will turn you away from God, then you have a faith that saves.