Together in Christ: 'Caring Enough to Reclaim' — James 5:19-20

Sunday, June 2, 2024

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

Key Thought

Yesterday, our verses on relationships reminded us how deeply God wants all who are away from Him to come home to Him. God longs to throw a party to celebrate the saving or reclaiming of any lost person. Saving lost people was so important to the Father that He sent the Son to demonstrate His love and give His life to ransom each person from sin, death, and hell. [1] Jesus' last words before returning to the Father was to challenge us to go and share His good news and make disciples of all people from all nations.  [2] Reaching the unsaved is urgent, necessary, and close to the heart of God. But what about those precious people once close to God who are now distant?

In the epistle we call Hebrews, the Holy Spirit reminds us that once passionate believers can "drift away" [3] and be "deceived by sin and hardened against God." [4] This leads their hearts to become "evil and unbelieving" and lead them to "turning away from the living God. [5] Our job is to watch out for these precious people and reach out to them and bring them home to our spiritual family and their Father in heaven. [6]

James, the half-brother of Jesus, was passionate about reclaiming those, just like His brother Jesus is. Today, our verses remind us that joy awaits when we reclaim those drifting, being deceived, and hardened. While entering a conversation with such people can be challenging, sometimes even painful, the potential joys of reclaiming the wander outweigh the discomfort. So, let's be partners with God in the reclamation business of grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, and joy!

[1] Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:5-7.
[2] Matthew 28:18-20.
[3] Hebrews 2:1-3.
[4] Hebrews 3:13.
[5] Hebrews 3:12.
[6] Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-32.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, you know what is inside each person's heart. I confess to you; I do not. I often do not recognize the internal struggles and doubts of my brothers and sisters around me. So, dear Breath of God, the Holy Spirit, I ask for the gifts of discernment, grace, and tenderness. I want to see those who are struggling and offer a listening ear. I need Your help, O Breath of heaven, to have the best words to share with them and the kindness of spirit to encourage them to return to the Father. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Who died to save each of us. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 15:1-32
  • Hebrews 2:1-4, 3:12-14

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Illustration

Illustration of James 5:19-20 NLT — 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.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.