If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
There is a difference between our salvation and our religion.
Salvation is the securement of our soul into a heavenly position
It is the result of the reconciliation of our sins with a holy God through faith in the sufficient work of Christ on the Cross.
Religion is the resulting practice of our faith
It is the useful exercise of our spiritual position for the sake of others.
James here makes it perfectly clear that our religion can be vain:
- of no real good
His application here has to do with the tongue. When we do not bridle our tongues and bring it into submission so that our speech is “alway with grace, seasoned with salt” we do harm to some, we fail to encourage and help others and we make the practice of our faith (though not our salvation) useless.
 I do not think it to be the only way we might make our religion vain, but it is certainly a common way.
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