Posted by Anthony DiGeorgio Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 4:00 PM
So, we're trying to start and get in the habit of posting things weekly and hopefully we can get a few things going that will continue for months or even years. I'd like to try and start a weekly blog, to be posted every Saturday, called "Challenge of the Week." What I'd like to communicate through this weekly spot is a challenge for myself and hopefully anyone reading.
Challenge of the Week: Be an Accountable Christian
James 5:19-20 - 19My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
This week I was challenged by this passage when I shared it with a friend of mine. I won't share the story, as I don't know most of it. When I first read this passage it took me a little while to grasp it. First, remember that James is talk to believers about believers - a pattern we see in much of the New Testament. This scripture does not give us the right to go to non-believers and confront them about sin in their lives - it would do little good, anyway, as they do not have the Holy Spirit to convict them. Now, don't take what I said too far - we cannot approve of the sin of non-believers.
The "strays from the truth" is, I believe, simply talking about a believer who has falling into sin and is not living a life consistent with his or her beliefs. Sometimes this is apparent and we can tell right away. Sometimes it is hard to tell. One of the things I see often is a believer who has turned to something other than God for gratification or truth. One who is perhaps hurting the gospel through the way they live, or another believer who is in a life ruled by a specific sin. Something that they don't seem able, or don't want to overcome. Sometimes all we need is that gentle push from someone who cares to remind us that we have the Holy Spirit with us, and he is able to fight our battle with our sin nature for us (Gal 5:16-18,24-26).
Remember, we are all part of Christ's body. We are meant to be one - and as a body, we should support each other. God tells us in the book of James that we need to "turn the sinner from their error." Some translations phrase it "restore" the believer, and I really like that. Sometimes all it takes to restore another believer is confronting them, and reminding them that they are not alone in their battle against sin. Sometimes it takes more - lots of time, patience and prayer. Every situation is different, but let me challenge you this week, and for the rest of your Christian life, to look for those believers that have wandered from the truth, and seek to help restore them to where God wants them - under His will. Maybe someday you'll help restore me when I stray. I can only hope.
In Christ's Love,