Bring Them Back
Verses 19-20 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.
As we reach the end of our study on the book of James, he leaves us with a final thought about one key thing that will help the Church keep her light for the world.
James has taken us through many different aspects of the Christian life that will help us grow closer to God and each other. Each of those aspects will also help us shine brightly in our community. We have learned the need for wisdom, the way we should face and accept trials that come our way, and about the work God is doing in us in the midst of our trials. We have learned about the proper way at looking at our finances, both in plenty and in want, and we have learned about prayer. But today James reminds us once more about the importance of accountability.
We talked a couple of days ago about our need to confess our sins to one another but what are we to do if we see a brother or sister in Christ sinning? James takes the last few lines of his letter to address this situation again. He doesn’t give us the details of how to do it in this portion of his letter but he is reminding them of the importance of what he has told them earlier. Wandering believers are a black eye on the whole Church and if we let them continue in their sin it shows that we don’t think that sin is a danger to us as a whole.
It is common these days to quote the first couple of words of Matthew 7, “Judge not” and think that we are right in saying that another’s sins are not our problem. Jesus didn’t end His teaching there and neither did James. James knew from experience what it was like to be called out of wrongful thinking. At first he hadn’t believed Jesus to be the Messiah. We know, of course, that he no longer doubted Jesus’ true identity because he was a leader in the early Church and wrote this letter. But what changed his mind?
Could it be that when Jesus met with James after the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7) He revealed Himself to him? Maybe James is speaking from experience when he says that if we bring someone back to the truth, we are saving them from death. James knew just how dangerous it was to think you are on the right path and yet be on the wrong path altogether. If we are truly loving fellow believers like we should, can we really just sit by and watch them walk the wrong path? If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t we want someone to correct us? If not, can we truly say we want to live as Christ?
Making It Personal
Have you ever corrected a fellow believer? Have you ever been corrected? Did you turn to truth?
Making It Personal Kids
Have you ever corrected someone who was not living like Jesus said to live? Do you like to be corrected? Does it make it easier to know that the person correcting you is just trying to help you be more like Jesus?
Father, thank You for this letter from James. Help us put into practice all that we have learned and give us the wisdom we need to hold each other accountable. In Jesus’ name, amen.