Bringing Back Wayward Brothers

Scripture: James 5:19-20, ‘My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.’


Observations: Firstly, James is talking to Christians here about Christians. He’s talking to ‘my brothers,’ and says, ‘if one of you,’ meaning one of these brothers. It is possible for Christians to ‘wander from the truth.’ So what should we do with such people? According to James we ought to ‘bring them back’ to the truth, we ought to encourage them to ‘turn form the error of their ways.’ James calls these people who have wandered from the truth ‘sinners,’ implying that they haven’t just accepted heresy, but that they have returned to their old lives of sin. But if they can be turned back to God, according to James they will be ‘saved from death,’ and that salvation ‘covers over a multitude of sins.’ Of course that’s the point of salvation, that our sins are no longer reckoned against us. Christ’s blood covers all our sins, as long as we believe the truth. James’ principle applies equally well to the salvation of non-Christians as well as Christians who have wandered from the faith.


Application: Do you know Christians who have wandered from the truth? Do you know people who were baptized and grew up in the church but never professed their faith? Do you know people who were once members of the church but no longer come? Do you still pray for them? Do you still reach out to them, hoping to turn them from the error of their ways and bring them back into the church? Are you convicted by the fact that their eternal destiny is at stake, that unless they return to Jesus in faith they will face the consequences of their sins, death?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, there is nothing more discouraging than to see someone who once professed Jesus as their Lord and Saviour wander from the faith and return to living for themselves. Lord, may I never give up seeking to turn such people from the error of their ways and bring them back to You that they may experience again Your love and grace in Jesus Christ. Lord, I know that You are faithful to Your promises and so I pray that You will send Your Spirit into their lives and that through my efforts You will change their hearts. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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