“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
So much in this verse flies in the face of the platform upon which many modern religions are built; there is no absolute truth from God; it is not possible to err from the truth; since it is not possible to sin after obedience, it is not possible to influence a sinner to turn back to God; consequently, there is no opportunity for a blessing to be realized. Many scriptures refute these premises.
Throughout scripture, we find the absolute affirmation that there is such a thing as truth and that it comes to us from God through His word. When a Christian accepts God’s truth, he or she has the choice of staying with it or of ignoring it. According to scripture, when we disregard the truth of God, then we slip back into sin; and we will be lost in eternity if we fail to return.
When this situation occurs and when another Christian influences an erring brother or sister to return, he receives a spiritual blessing. As well, the restored Christian receives an even greater blessing: he returns from death—that is, spiritual death—and once again has a relationship with God.
“Covering a multitude of sins” is used in the sense of the erring person’s receiving forgiveness, not that his sins are hidden. This entire process exemplifies a responsibility each Christian has to take on the responsibility of helping and encouraging our fellow Christians as we all journey toward eternity.