"My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." - James 5:19-20
Much of this final chapter of James is dedicated to instructions about Christian fellowship. It talks about the need for us to be honest with each other, confessing our sins to one another and praying for each other, and then ends with these words.
How many are there who used to be believers, who once were Christians, but wandered from the truth? Sometimes it’s a gradual process of the heart becoming distracted and growing cold. Sometimes intellectual doubts are injected as we follow the twisted reasoning of the world and wander from faith. Many find themselves in some kind of sinful behavior that they are sure made them socially unacceptable to the “good” people in the church where they grew up.
I’ve known so many who stumbled into alcoholism or addictions or divorce, or maybe went to prison for something stupid they did, who long to return to the fellowship of believers but don’t think they will be allowed in.
Many in their wandering have forgotten the way back. They need someone to put an arm around their shoulder and remind them of the promise, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
They need to hear someone say, “God has forgiven you for Jesus’ sake, and so have we. This is the way; walk in it with us.”
The Church isn’t here to crab at people about their sins. We are here to bring back those wandering souls, save them, and let the blood of Jesus cover all their sins, just as He has done for each of us.
Lord Jesus, let it be said of us that we know the way back to You; that those who walk with us will find themselves following You; that grace, forgiveness, restoration, healing and salvation are here with us, in Your name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles