God wants His people to live a certain way. To act a certain way. To have certain honest motivations. He wants His people to love one another, and to prove it by their actions.
The fruit of real salvation is moral and spiritual reformation, because you love God. You don’t “clean yourself up” to gain favor with God; that’s not possible. Instead, because God has already changed your heart and mind and given you spiritual life, you reform your life with His help. Part of that means you love your fellow believers.
Well-meaning Christians often cite biblical commands to care for the poor, the widows and orphans, and try to apply these to mercy ministries. Douglas Moo, a conservative commentator, is representative of this trend when he applies one of these passages (James 1:27) in a generic way to society at large. He implies James is issuing a call to mercy ministries in the context of evangelism:1
Christians whose religion is pure will imitate their Father by intervening to help the helpless. Those who suffer from want in the third world, in the inner city; those who are unemployed and penniless; those who are inadequately represented in government or in law—these are the people who should see abundant evidence of Christians’ ‘pure religion’.
Doug Wilson: [A]ny evangelical church, denomination, publisher, magazine, study center, society, or seminary, or any other collective Christian thing that we might fashion or think up, that is not in an open, unremitting and hostile war against every form of social justice, identity politics, or wokeness of any sort, is an entity that is doomed.
"The dissolution of the academy into intersectional turf wars is already an old story. But Williams’ sad tale points to something beyond that. She notes that 'diversity' was scarcely mentioned on the panel... 'The panel wasn’t really about any of that, or even ultimately about race, but rather about how to destroy classics.'” - Robespierre’s road
"Appearing on stage with MacArthur, [Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan] were asked about the apparent rare point of disagreement in matters of public theology at the conference sponsored by Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where MacArthur is pastor/teacher." - BNG