“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.”
Final words from James as we conclude our series on his letter to the early church. Invite your friends to join us tomorrow as we head into 1 Peter! Whenever I am reading the end of a book of the Bible, I always ask myself why the particular words were chosen as the parting statements. Is there something we need to understand or pay attention to in these final thoughts?
It just so happens that James’ last words are life-or-death words. The early Christian followers understood that they were risking their very lives to claim faith in Jesus. In these early days of the church, there was a lot of confusion and false teaching as information could not be shared quickly and there were no systems in place for teaching theology or qualifying preachers. So holding on to the truth of the Gospel that Jesus preached was of utmost importance. You can feel the urgency here as God essentially promises a reward to anyone who brings a wayward Christian back into the fold.
Here’s your freedom for today: God will catch you if you wander. He loves you. He wants you in his family. You are accepted, valued, and loved. He paid a ransom for your life once with Jesus’ death, and he’ll pay out more rewards to anyone who pulls you back into the fold when you stray. The church exists to make sure that no one goes at this Jesus-following journey alone. Cling to the truth, and cling to each other. We’ll make it if we hold on tight.