Genuine Religion | Dr Alan Holden

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“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 Book of James deals with genuineness in the Christian life.  In his summary of chapter one, James says that genuine religion is demonstrated by godly conduct: quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to wrath (verse 19). Genuineness is a tough standard to achieve in today’s world. But it is a discipline we need to develop.

First, genuine Christianity is quick to listen.  We all know people who engage their mouth before they engage their brain.  This only makes the devil happy and makes us look ridiculous.  Whatever happened to the Christian grace of courtesy?  Everyone is yelling at each other, but no one is listening.  Remember the adage: “It’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Second, genuine Christianity is slow to speak.  That doesn’t mean we never talk or respond to criticism.  It means that we give an answer seasoned with both grace and intellect, not emotion.  Emotion demonstrates our insecurity in our position.

Third, genuine Christianity is slow to wrath.  Notice what James says, “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God,” (verse 20). Remember that the next time you fly off the handle, no matter how much we declared that we’re expressing righteous indignation.

How genuine and secure is your Christianity?

Genuine Faith | James 2:18

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“Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” (James 2:18).

The Book of James teaches that one’s actions and lifestyle reveal genuine faith.

Many often accuse fundamental Christians of being so heavenly-minded that they are no earthly good.  Sadly, many times we have earned that criticism justly.

Faith is not just a statement of doctrines that we believe.  Even the devil believes the same things we do about God (see verse 19)!  Faith is not only a systematic theology.  Instead, faith that is genuine is a lifestyle.

Genuine faith changes or tempers our actions.  Abraham heard God and obeyed God’s directions.  Even though he did not understand or have all the information or explanations he wanted, Abraham acted on what God said.  That earned him the title, “Friend of God.”  Rahab was an alien from God and a prostitute. Yet her belief that God was able to conquer the land changed her life.  So she hid the Israeli spies, protected them, and made provisions for them. However, she believed that God would save her from the day of destruction.  She too was a “Friend of God.”

Our actions or lack of action betray our beliefs.  What do your actions say about your faith in God? Do they reflect Christ in you or the “old sinful man”? Are you a “Friend of God,” or just an acquaintance of God?

Remember, faith without works is like a car without gas.  It may be pretty and shiny, but it won’t go anywhere.