Care For Your Brothers and Sisters
We are asked to bring brothers and sisters back into the fold.
What the mind thinks, and the mouth confesses, the body must do—anything less is worldly, sinful “double-mindedness” (1:8; 4:8).
We move as the Holy Spirit leads.
The text gives us clear indications as to the persons who are to aim at the conversion of erring brethren. It says, “If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him.” One what? One minister? No, any one among the brethren. If the minister shall be the means of the restoration of a backslider, he is a happy man, and a good deed has been done; but there is nothing said here concerning preachers or pastors, not even a hint is given—it is left open to any one member of the church; and the plain inference, I think, is this—that every church member seeing his brother err from the truth, or err in practice, should set himself, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to this business of converting this special sinner from the error of his way.
The goal of faith in the Lord is maturity; but, as James indicated earlier, everyone stumbles in many ways (“we all stumble,” 3:2).
The command to “remember” with which the NIV begins this verse translates the Greek word ginōsketō, which is a third person imperative of the verb ginōskō, “know,” and means “let him know.”51 As James reminded his readers of the purpose of trials at the beginning of his letter (cf. “you know” in 1:3), so here in the conclusion he reminded them of the significance of a restoration ministry.
Like Elijah, the brother who restores another lays down his own life for the sake of the other’s life. The motive here is the rescue of the sinner from death, not one’s own self.54
God must use us; but, oh, let us long to be used, pray to be used, and pine to be used. Dear brethren and sisters, let us purge ourselves of everything that would prevent our being employed by the Lord. If there is anything we are doing, or leaving undone, any evil we are harbouring, or any grace we are neglecting; which may make us unfit to be used of God, let us pray the Lord to cleanse, and mend, and scour us till we are vessels fit for the Master’s use. Then let us be on the watch for opportunities of usefulness; let us go about the world with our ears and our eyes open, ready to avail ourselves of every occasion for doing good; let us not be content till we are useful, but make this the main design and ambition of our lives.