Wanderers and those who bring them back.
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. (Jas 5:19-20)
James’ final statement is one of concern for another person, the one who wanders away. What they are wandering away from is of particularly importance in these verses. What the person does who brings him back is also an important thing. The statement seems to focus more on the one who goes after the brother than it does the brother itself. Still, the “consequences” or “results” of going after the brother who is brought back should be a comfort to the one who wandered away.
Wandering away not always an active action, though it can be. A lot of times, it is the unplanned result of actions which, like a dot to dot puzzle slowly take a person further and further away from where they should be. Much as been written on the topic of whether a person can ‘fall from grace’ and the one thing I know is that one blog post will not change anyone’s mind. However, in reading James’ statement about a person wandering away from the truth (and not just any person, but a fellow Christian), needs to cause the sober-minded, God-fearing follower to take notice.
The truth that one wanders from is beyond a doubt the Gospel. The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus is the Truth, all that He has done for us and is doing for us, His promised return and our eventual home in Heaven with Him. You can’t be saved without Jesus.
That one would go out after a brother is almost an assumption. Our Lord and Savior parabalized the Good Shepherd who left the 99 sheep that were safe and went out after the 1 that was lost. Am I my brother’s keeper? The answer is yes. If you do find him and you do succeed in bringing him back, you save him from death and his sins will be covered. The blood of Christ, covers the sins of the sinner.
James’ final statement might also relate to his first one. “Count it all joy my brethren when you meet various trials”….only this time, it is to those of us who are strong and know of one who wandered away and did not successfully meet those trials. Go after him, bring him back, and let him know you care and that God loves him.