James 5:19-20 NIV
My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20 – Message
My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.
We all know people who have once followed God and have walked away from Him. Don’t give up on them. God still wants to bring them home. Through intercession and action fight for them. Their story is not finished. Be a part of their story being completed as one who has been forgiven and redeemed. See things the way that God does, recognize that as you walk with them and they turn back to God, that you have literally saved them from death and covered over their many offences.
I find this passage challenging. I can immediately think of people that I know that did know God and have abandoned their faith. It is so easy to go along life and forget how desperately they need him. When I look at how far they have wandered it can be overwhelming and I can somehow accept that they may not want God. However, this is simply not the truth. I am called to pray and make intercession for the lost. I am to be walking with these very people and breathing life and hope into their hearts. I think sometimes I buy into the lie that we are on a cruise ship journey rather than a rescue mission. Yet, the word is very clear that this is a rescue mission. The lost need to be found. If I see life in the context of play I will live and not care, but if I see life in the context of a rescue mission then I will be prepared to do whatever I need to in order to see someone rescued.
How can I apply this to my life? I might need to start by spending more time with the wanderer. Salt can only make impact when in close proximity.
Sue says:February 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm
Don’t forsake your brother or sister in Christ. If you see someone wander off from Christ’s way do what is needed to bring them back. Consider it a matter of eternal life and death.
How far would I go for a Christian brother or sister who is wandering into trouble? This is the challenge for me. I’ve had no problem with dropping everything when I knew help would be accepted. But what about times when I knew that going after the one straying would bring personal pain, a rebuke, rejection, or even betrayal?
We aren’t called to just walk together during the good times. We are called to do battle for our brother or sister in Christ no matter the cost. When we see them walking too close to the edge, heading directly into trouble, nearing the point of no return I need to reach out, be there and be present no matter the cost.
I need to do this because Christ set the ultimate example of what it is like to go to the extreme for those actively ridiculing Him and spitting in His face while walking toward the edge. I need to do this because as members of one body we can’t watch another walk away without experiencing loss ourself. I need to do this because Love demands we act. We can’t claim to have the love of God in us and not reach out to those in Spiritual danger.
Jim Holmes says:February 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm
The chapter talks about how the Lord is patient and longsuffering as he waits for the harvest to be ripe (verse 7). Then the emphasis is on we who are laborers in the field who are also called to be patient as well…and how we are to behave as we wait for the Lord. This covers passages from 9 to 20, the last two of which is to be paraphrased. Being patient then, we are to 1) establish our hearts, 2) grudge not 3) endure 4) show mercy 5)do not swear 6)pray 7)sing psalms 8)anoint the sick 9)confess faults to one another, praying for one another 10)convert the sinner from error of his way.
This is all addressed to the brethren…the church…the body of Christ…Christians. Again, with all this, we are commanded to “Be patient” and to “establish your heart” in verse 8.
With this in mind, the passages for today read
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
The emphasis behind this and earlier scripture is that the “Lord is Coming.” There is an urgency, yet there is the strong call to be patient, that Jesus also with patience and longsuffering, waits for the harvest to be ready. So, too, we are to look after the harvest…the precious fruit of the earth…that is you and I and our brethren, our sisters, the family in Christ. They are precious in the sight of God. But, we have an enemy that wants to destroy us. This enemy is the Deceiver, the anti-christ, anti-truth, who is a lier. Any one of us, if we have not the armour of God, can fall to his deception, and err from the truth. When we lose the Way, (Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life), we dwell in a dark place, and sometimes we don’t know because we have been deceived. If we continue in our sin, (sin separates us from God), a multitude of sins can harden our heart toward God, and we are no longer able to know the Way, but follow the way of death.
So, it is vital, that we admonish one another, as regards to the Truth. That when we recognize sin and deception, err from the truth, that we “with established hearts in Christ” help restore “with much patience” that one to know Truth, the one who is the Truth, Jesus.
Remember, if you do not “love” the brethren, how can you love Jesus? Our brethren make up the body of Christ Jesus. Or…maybe we should ask…how is my love relationship with Jesus?
Susan Craig says:February 1, 2014 at 10:32 pm
The body of Christ will only function well as a body if it is complete and if all members are pulling together for a common goal. When one part of the body has detached from the rest and wanders away, the whole body is affected because that person was fulfilling a God-given role that no one else can fill. It takes each one of us doing our part to function effectively in the whole body. In these verses it makes it perfectly clear that we are not only accountable to God for our own Christian walk but we are responsible for maintaining the body as a whole. We are to take it seriously when one of our members falls away and we are to do whatever it takes to rebuke/encourage/help that person see the error of their ways and bring them back to the fold. This is not easy to do because no-one likes to be corrected or even to be the one doing that correcting. It needs to be done very humbly and carefully so that the person does not fall away further. I personally have always thought of this as being a leadership role-ie for pastors or elders or deacons. But in James, it seems like it is saying we are all to be in this role. That has me thinking as to why I find it so difficult to take that step?? I know how easy it is to wander away-as an old hymn says “Prone to wander,Lord I feel it-Prone to leave the God I love” Who am I to show another Christian the error of her ways when I have my own sins I struggle to defeat in my life and have victory over? This set of verses has certainly got me thinking about my responsibility in this area-it is alot easier to pray for someone than to talk to them directly about issues in their life.
I do know that in the church I grew up in, a few generations before mine, members were confronted openly about sins they were committing-but it was done by the leaders of the church. Church discipline has gone by the wayside these days-not sure if that is good or bad-it is just an observation. It is good that we spent time earlier in this study on humility because it woould definitely have to be done in a very humble way.
Pat McRae says:February 7, 2014 at 10:17 am
Wherefore, Pat, My beloved daughter, be swift to hear, open your ears and really listen; slow to speak, close your mouth until you know I have filled it with sweet words that will bring life, light and liberty; and slow the wrath, bridle your anger, ill-temper and self-centered actions.
You know from your past tests that your wrath has not displayed My righteousness but has brought darkness, depression and death to those around you and to you when unleashed.
I didn’t pass the test on Saturday and it really humbles me every time I allow my anger to rage. Tonight I had another opportunity to pass the same test again. Did I pass? Let’s just say I did better but baby I have along way to go to get a 90%.
I so love God the Father for equipping me to pass and for giving me lots of opportunities to perfect the work He has begun in me.
Thank You Jesus for opening the way and Holy Spirit for leading me on into my Daddy’s Ways.
Pat McRae says:February 7, 2014 at 10:40 am
oops wrong page in my book I apologize 🙁 right one: People when you find someone going the wrong way and help them see the err of their ways, you will bring light to their souls, so the sins are covered by Love.
There is only one Who can convert a soul and that is the Holy Spirit. It is He Who calls man to the revelation of salvation. But I can help!
The question is how to show them the err, how does one go about that? So easy to point out the wrong and declare what you see as the good way. But not everyone is willing to be lead to a better way. So how? Hosea 10:4 declares God draws with bands of love. For me I have a ways to go to help lead someone away from sin with love. I am to quick to judge.
When I look at my life and see how God has lead me out of my sinful ways I see nothing but love. He loves me and encourages me to have a closer relationship. I find it is the relationship that causes me to want to improve my habits so they line up with what would please Him. Could this be His way for us to help brothers and sisters who are erring? Would friendship that could not be shaken by habits but founded on love, unconditional love, have the same results?
Lord I ove when You reveal Your Ways to me. Help me walk out this revelation with a brother or sister who just needs to see Your love in action. Let me not judge the person and give me strength to walk pure and holy so my actions bring glory to You. Help me not to be a reed blown and tossed but a tree of Lebon whose roots are deep in You and Your Ways.