Restoring those who wander away from the truth
My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. James 5:19-20 NLT
Previously, James emphasized the importance of restoring someone physically by praying for healing (James 5:13-18). But restoring someone from spiritual illness is critical for it could result to spiritual death. From the text, James is admonishing his fellow believers to be concerned about those who could have been enticed by false teachings or has been carelessly living following the ways of the world. Though the ones who wander away from the truth are responsible for their choices and decisions, but to let them remain in their wayward actions will bring them to spiritual trouble. We are called upon to plead to those who have been indecisive concerning their spiritual condition. Paul reminded the believers in Corinth that they are ambassadors for Christ. Then he explained how this calling should be lived out: “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are to appeal to those needing to return to Christ and provide persuasive reasons why they need to be reconciled with God. As Christ’s ambassadors, our task to call people to “come back to God” has to be a priority. Paul realizes that there is a sense of urgency in fulfilling the task of bringing back people to God. Same is true with what James is charging the believers to do. We are serving the King of kings and the Lord of lords therefore we cannot be nominal Christians. We are expected to grow into spiritual maturity and be committed to serve our Lord and Savior. We cannot take lightly when God speaks to us from His Word. He expects us to act upon what we heard from Him. Ignoring someone who is wandering away from the truth could lead others to also do the same and this is dangerous for “one sinner can destroy much that is good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18). We are admonished to stay close to the truth, the Word of God. “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1). This is the time for us to test our hearts and see if we are growing into spiritual maturity.