In “Pilgrims to the City of God,” musician and writer Michael Card sang:
“Pilgrims of passion, we follow the One
Who holds out a cross and a crown.
We travel a dark road that has but one Light,
For we have here no lasting town.
And sometimes we run by the power of His might.
On our own at the best we can plod.
What we hopefully look for is just beyond sight.
We are pilgrims to the city of God.”
As pilgrims, we’re not alone. We’re on this journey with a worldwide community of believers. To conclude his epistle, James encourages us to help one another on the path to mature faith. The path is not an easy one. It’s filled with trials, troubles, and temptations. The pleasures of the world beckon. Satan tries to use our sinful desires to entrap us. We continually need wisdom, humility, and self-control. Yet through perseverance and endurance our faith can grow to wholeness and completeness.
There are many ways we can wander from the path. When someone does, it’s up to the rest of us to “bring that person back” (v. 19). A believer who has left the right path and taken the wrong one—indicating habitual sin—must be turned from the error of their ways. They can be restored to fellowship with God and others. To speak of covering over a multitude of sins is basically to call doing this an awesome and amazing act of love (see 1 Peter 4:8).
Doing this in fact saves the erring brother or sister from “death” (v. 20). These are erring believers, so James does not mean they will lose salvation. Rather, he emphasizes the stakes in helping one another persevere toward mature faith.
What verses or themes from our study encouraged or convicted you? Be sure to underline those verses and make some notes in your spiritual journal. You might also share them with a friend or small group, inviting them to help you persevere in spiritual growth. As you reflect, pray based on James 1:5, asking the Lord for His wisdom as you follow him.
As we conclude our study this month, thank God for the journey of Christian maturity He gives each one of us. Living according to the truth of righteouness in Christ can be a struggle, but God is there with us each step of the way.