Summary: What does it mean to become polluted by the world? To be polluted means our thinking and behaviors are of the world. We are subscribing to its philosophies and ideals. We are liviing in accordance with the sinful nature. So how do we become unpolluted?
ARE YOU RELGIOUS (part three)
Recap: Last week we looked at the beginning of James 1:27, "Religion as God the Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." We looked at why orphans and widows and it's because these are among the most vulnerable, needy people.
Also, in helping them we are help those who are not able to pay us back. Thus, we are helping with the purest of motives.
James finishes it with 'in their distress'. We are to help but not just blindly help. We are to determine the legitimacy of the need. We looked at 1st Tim. 5:3-16 where Paul instructs Timothy to use discretion regarding what widows to help. Helping the poor and needy is a wonderful thing but the desire needs to be coupled with wisdom and discernment.
We need to try to make a determination as to the legitimacy and severity of the need lest we spend our resources on illegitimate needs and then we don't have it for when there is a legitimate need. Also, we don't want to enable someone to continue to make poor choices or enable them to be dependent when they have the ability and the tools to be more independent but are choosing not to.
James 1:27b, "...and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world."
1) What does it mean to be polluted by the world?
Polluted means dirty, grimy, infected. Becoming polluted means to become impure. We were surrounded and engrossed in the world before we came to Christ. Whether it was sinful activities or simply having an unbiblical worldview, we were living in the only world we knew; the unspiritual one.
Then we learned about the spiritual realm and the hereafter. We learned what God had to say about what was good and what wasn't; what was acceptable and what wasn't. We began learning about the new life as a new creation. We learned what we should not be doing and what we should be doing instead.
When we became born again we began to see things in a different light. We saw through a spiritual lens; and that includes the world we live in. The ideals that were promoted, the behaviors of people, the teachings, practices and views that were held all took on a new shape and we gained a new understanding-a new perspective about it all. And where before the things we believed; the activities we were involved in were simply life as we lived it and were the acceptable practices and principles we lived by; now, through seeing things more clearly through the spiritual lens of truth, things began to take on a whole new shape; a whole new meaning.
The things that were once acceptable are now unacceptable. The things that I was once oblivious to are now exposed for what they are. What was once clean is now polluted; what was once aromatic is now pungent. However, just because I have seen the light doesn't mean Satan's not going to try to snuff it out. His purpose is to get me polluted by the world all over again. And I have to be ready for him. I need to know what factors are involved and how I can prevent it from happening.
2) How do I become polluted by the world?
Being polluted by the world is choosing to be conformed to the world-Romans 12:2a, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world."
Paul is saying that we need to stop conforming to the way the world thinks, the way the world does things. When the ideals and philosophies of the world go against what we find in God's word we have a choice to make-will we subscribe to the world's ways or to God's ways. Will we subscribe to the worldly way of-you don't have to become a Christian in order to go to heaven you just need to be a good person or will we subscribe to God's way that there are none that are good and only through Jesus can you be saved?
Will we subscribe to the worldly ways that says it's okay to have sex outside of marriage and it's okay to live together or will we subscribe to God's way that speaks out against fornication? Will we continue to be okay with homosexuality and abortion or will we stand with God who says these things are wrong?
The world's way is that it's okay to get drunk but God's word commands against it. The world says it's just a little white lie but God says 'do not lie' period. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. There are things that are acceptable in society but they're not acceptable with God. Being polluted by the world is conforming to the world's way of looking at things instead of God's way.