Galatians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:20-21; James 1:26-27
PURE AND LIVING RELIGION
J. C. Philpot (1802-1869)
A religion that does nothing for a man's soul is practically worthless, and a religion that never manifests itself in a man's life is as worthless as a religion that does nothing for his soul. Death is stamped upon both. Religion to be worth anything must be a living religion, a religion that proceeds from a work of grace upon the heart, communicating life to the soul, and exercising an influence wheresoever it exists, and in whomsoever it resides.
We cannot love those whom we don't know. We cannot love God till we know Him, nor the Son of God till we know Him, nor the people of God till we know them, nor the truth of God till we know it; therefore there is a union between knowledge and love. It is not a letter knowledge, a speculative, dry, doctrinal knowledge; but a spiritual knowledge, a knowledge communicated by a divine revelation, let down into the soul by spiritual manifestations, and divine acquaintance with divine things by a divine power.
Now this is the only knowledge really worth possessing, to know God by His own manifestations and Jesus by His own revelations, sweet visits and affections, by tasting how sweet and precious they are. Head knowledge can never communicate spiritual love; it merely stands in the letter. A man may have his head full of the letter; he may hold the clearest creed, and possess the soundest theory, with a brain crammed with texts of Scripture, and all the while his heart may be hatred itself towards God, and towards the people of God. But spiritual knowledge, divine teaching, and heavenly acquaintance with "the truth in Jesus" (Ephesians 4:21), must be the parent of spiritual love; for to know God is to love Him. -- "The Fruits of a Living Religion"
J. C. Philpot contended for a pure and experimental religion (salvation from sin), as clearly seen in the above. This kind of preaching is sorely lacking in the modern church, and few have actually ever heard it. This is one reason Philpot is not popular. Judge for yourself, dear reader. We either have "the Jews' religion" (Galatians 1:13-14), which is carnal and vain, or we have been divinely taught to know Christ Himself as "the truth" (Ephesians 4:20-21), which is manifest in the "pure religion" of proper words and actions (James 1:26-27). May the Lord Jesus Christ truly become our All (Colossians 3:11). "Meditate on these things."
May we "know" experimentally the "power" of "pure" and "living" religion (salvation)!