There are two ingredients of understanding pure and undefiled religion. First of all is caring for orphans and widows, but secondly, keeping oneself unstained from the world. Now to hear God’s Word say, “Pure and undefiled religion,” what exactly does that mean? Pure and undefiled means ‘uncontaminated.’ If gold is discovered, there are impurities in that gold. The impurities must be burned out so that it will be pure gold. If you’re able to find water that is absolutely pure from a spring or from a mountain stream, you know that it is uncontaminated with disease. It is pure and crystal clear. And what God’s Word tells us is that pure and undefiled religion is a religion that is purely devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Word of God tells us that, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” So, we don’t earn the favor of God. We receive the love and the grace of God through faith. And that is what makes Christianity distinct from every other religion in the world. So when James talks about true, undefiled religion, he is speaking about religion in the general sense of the term. James is not telling us that we will be saved by doing these good things. James is telling us that we will reveal our salvation. We will show that we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ if we do these things.