Writing to a wide audience in the first century, James highlighted some very important elements in our faith if it is to be “pure and faultless.”
Among other things, Jesus’ followers should keep themselves “from being polluted by the world.” Bible scholar N.T. Wright translates that phrase like this: “prevent the world leaving its dirty smudge on you.”
James is referring to the elements of our society which are sinful or ungodly. Because the current of culture can be so strong—and since it surrounds us like water surrounds a fish—we can get carried away and “polluted” if we’re not careful.
Let me give a few examples.
1. If you’re just drinking society’s Kool-Aid about what is right and wrong without any reference to Scripture, you may becoming polluted.
2. Some people have become rabidly committed to one political party over another. Everything their party says is perfect, and everything the other party says is totally evil. These people are so ideologically committed to their party that the teachings of Jesus barely even fit into their political perspective. Is that you? If so, you may becoming polluted.
3. Perhaps your friends or family members are so dismissive toward God that you start to become dismissive too. If so, you may becoming polluted.
There is a lot of good in our world. But there is also a lot of evil. So let’s not be naïve.
Don’t let the smudge of a broken world tarnish your shine. Christ should be the Light who illumines our path and is reflected in our lives.
By Matthew Ruttan
–This Sunday, October 4, 2020 at 10:01am (EST) I’m teaching about James 2:1-13 with a message called “Soft edges and firm centres.” It’s Part 3 in the Down-To-Earth series. We’ll also be celebrating Communion. Click here to learn more about the entire (online) service.
–“Up!” is published five days a week (Monday to Friday) and returns on October 5.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.