Main point summary
Authentic spirituality is evidenced by compassion and holiness, whereas superficial spirituality is evidenced by worldly speech.
If anyone thinks
If anyone believes
he is religious
that his or her spirituality is honorable in God's sight
q and does not bridle his tongue
but in reality he or she habitually dishonors God with their words
but deceives his heart,
and with their incessant practice of self- deception,
this person’s r religion is worthless.
then their spirituality is good for nothing.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
However , an authentically spiritual person in God's sight does the following:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
he or she visits and comforts orphans and widows who are suffering
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and they persistently fight for a pure, clean, and holy heart and mind. [see Romans 12:1-2]
go back to James 1:19 ; look forward to James 3:2-3 and James 3:5-11
go back to James 1:22
Romans 12:1 ; 1 Corinthians 2:13 ; 1 Corinthians 3:1 ; 1 Peter 2:5
In James 1:26-27, James contrasts authentic vs counterfeit spirituality. And in James 3:13-18, James contrasts godly vs demonic wisdom.
If anyone claims that he is religious , or well ( Mark 2:16-17), or that he sees ( John 9:39-41), yet his words are continually evil and his heart is deceived, then his religion, his wellness, and his sight are worthless.
1:26 : In this verse James brings back to the forefront two subjects that he introduced earlier in chapter 1 : our words and self-deception. In James 1:19 , James commanded us to be slow to speak, and in 1:26 , he reiterates the same rule, that is, people are supposed to bridle their tongue. It seems to me that James thinks that words are far from trivial since by our words we will be justified or condemned (see Matthew 12:36-37 ). James echoes his warning against deception, particularly self-deception (look back at 1:16 and 1:22). James wants to make it clear that there will be people in this world who really believe that they are morally upright but in reality they are morally corrupt. They are self-deceived and their words (slander, gossip, insults, bribery, seductive/lustful speech, etc.) prove it. Because of this ungodliness and self-deception, their religious self-assessment is invalid. Their rituals, reputation, and religious accolades are worthless, good for nothing in God's sight. Before I was saved, I believed that I was a spiritual person and that God, for the most part, was happy with me because I behaved 'good' and did not commit terrible crimes. However my mouth constantly uttered perverse and foolish comments. My mouth was not bridled and I deceived myself into thinking I was a good person.