James 5 v. 19 – 20
‘19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back,
20 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’ whole letter has been to urge the scattered Christian community back to an authentic, whole-life discipleship of integrity – faith and works, hand in hand.
In his final two verses, ‘he sends all of us out on a spiritual search-and-rescue mission.’
‘My brother’s or sister’s struggle isn’t just their problem – it is mine. We need to be willing to urge the struggling, wayward Christian to come back to whole-hearted faith.
Trying to ‘bring that person back’ is not easy. It risks losing their friendship or their respect. And in many cultures (perhaps especially British culture), we’ve been taught to mind our own business and to avoid conflict. But God doesn’t call us to be British, He calls us to be Christian. And this means appreciating that wandering from the faith can lead to death (v. 20) – and therefore determining to do all we can to bring the wanderers back to faith, so that the Lord Jesus will cover over all their sins, as He has ours.’
In a sense, this is what James is seeking to do for every reader of his letter – call them back to a genuine faith, whole-heartedly lived out.
It is the ‘search-and-rescue’ mission Jesus Himself calls, commissions and equips us for, by His Spirit.
(quotes from ‘Explore : By The Book; The Letter of James – Timothy Keller, Sam Allberry)
What would stop you from seeking to bring someone back from wandering?
Is there anyone, right now, whom the Spirit is prompting you to seek out, and to talk to / pray with? Listen…and act upon that prompt.
I was lost, but Jesus found me
Found the sheep that went astray
Threw His loving arms around me
Drew me back into His way
Yes I’ll sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ who died for me
Sing it with the saints in glory
Gathered by the crystal sea.