These two short verses serve as a wonderfully practical test to the immediately preceding (James 1:19–25). A little context, James has just told us the massive difference between two types of people. Two receivers of the Word. One merely hears, while the other is both a hearer and a doer of the Word. Though brief, these verses call each of us to examine our hearts to see if our faith is a mere practice of godless self-deception, or if indeed we do possess a lively faith which is constantly sharpened by the Word of God.
Main point summary
Self-serving worship is an idle practice of godlessness; God-honoring worship actively displays God's own heart to the world.
If anyone thinks
[One way to see if you merely hear the word is to] consider if you think like this man.
Εἴ τις δοκεῖ
he is religious
That is , he reckons his worship to be pleasing before God
q and does not bridle his tongue
and at the same time (though he has been warned,) he is not careful with his words
μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν γλῶσσαν αὐτοῦ
but deceives his heart,
but really is leading his heart down the path of impurity,
ἀλλʼ ἀπατῶν καρδίαν αὐτοῦ,
this person’s r religion is worthless.
then , his so-called 'idle religion' is godless, vanity.
τούτου μάταιος ἡ θρησκεία.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
On the other hand , this is the active worship God considers worthwhile:
θρησκεία καθαρὰ καὶ ἀμίαντος παρὰ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὕτη ἐστίν,
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
to have an active and deep concern for the needy and the broken,
ἐπισκέπτεσθαι ὀρφανοὺς καὶ χήρας ἐν τῇ θλίψει αὐτῶν,
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and to have an equally active and deep concern to maintain a pure heart.
ἄσπιλον ἑαυτὸν τηρεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ κόσμου.