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I have told the story of attending a Sky Sox baseball game in years past with my grandchildren. At the game that evening they honored the Boy Scouts of America; it was their 100th anniversary. The Scouts have an oath, law, motto and slogan. The oath begins with, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country…” This phrase comes close to summarizing the Bible definition of “true religion.”

In James 1:26 it speaks of a religion that is vain (empty, or without substance). Tradition and religion cause many people to go astray because they have placed their trust in these things instead of in the Lord. The Bible says, Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:7-8.

The problem is that people often confuse religion and salvation. Notice the difference between salvation and religion. SALVATION is the New Birth (James 1:18, 21). RELIGION is living right (James 1:22-27). SALVATION is what God does for you that you can’t do for yourself. RELIGION is what you do to justify your profession. SALVATION is God’s righteousness imputed (placed to your account) to you by grace for your justification. RELIGION is works. James 1:27 calls this “pure religion.” 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. Simply put, PURE RELIGION is to help those in need and separate yourself from the world.

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