James’ Final Sentence

The end of James’ epistle is unique. Unlike the other letters in the New Testament which conclude with some type of greeting and/or benediction, James’ final sentence is: “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).

In this final sentence, James plainly discusses apostasy—a possibility which is denied by many. Consider the following facts found in this final sentence:

  • His words are addressed to “brethren”; i.e., his spiritual family in Christ.

  • He realistically describes a possible scenario; i.e., something which could occur within their spiritual body.

  • He identifies the specific action which could transpire; i.e., “wander from the truth”. He pinpoints the precise state such action would result in–the wanderer would be “a sinner”, one who is out of the proper spiritual orbit he should be in, and dead/separated from God.

Is it possible for a member of God’s spiritual family to so live as to be separated from God and thus face the wrath of God for his sins?

James’ final sentence plainly gives the inspired answer to this sobering question. It is “YES!”

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Author: jchowning

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