“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).
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass…” (Galatians 6:1).
“Moreover, if your brother sins against you…” (Matthew 18:15).
Though there is only one way to heaven (John 14:6), there are many ways to hell. Not only is “Once saved, always saved” a lie, becoming an apostate is within the realm of possibility for every Christian (see previous post).
James, Paul, and Jesus give three different scenarios of apostasy. Each situation is universally possible and therefore must be guarded against.
James describes an apostate Christian who went astray gradually. Like a sheep in a pasture which becomes more focused on what is immediately in front of him and not on his shepherd, a Christian can so focus on the “here and now” that he wanders away from the Good Shepherd. Anyone can do this.
Anyone can remedy this also. (The same Greek pronoun—tis—is translated “anyone” and “someone” in James 5:19.)
When this wanderer is returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of his soul (1 Peter 2:25), the wonderful results are a sinner has been saved from death and a multitude of sins have been covered.