He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins—Jas. 5: 20.
When we see others walking in forbidden paths, in the way of transgressors, we are not to follow them there in order to help them out; but to show them the right path by keeping in it and calling to them. When we see some confusing themselves with doctrines and teachings of men, which we know are fundamentally wrong, we are not to wade through those doctrines in order to help them out; but we are to remind them that the study of any doctrine which will not square with the foundation is not only a misuse of consecrated time, but that all trifling with that which we know to be error is wrong and dangerous, as all violations of conscience and principle are dangerous.
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The sinner of this passage is in general one who has backslidden, as v. 19 shows. It refers especially to the Great Company, who sinned against their consecration vows. Their course put them continually into danger of going further into willfulness and finally of landing in the Second Death (Heb. 6: 4-6). It has been the privilege of the Lord's people to seek to deliver such from their danger, and thereby to cover with the robe of Christ's righteousness a multitude of the transgressions of the wayward ones.
Parallel passages: Psa. 19: 7; 51: 13; Matt. 18: 3; Luke 22: 32; Acts 3: 19; Jas. 5: 14 19; Matt. 18: 15-17; 1Cor. 5; 1Tim. 1: 19, 20; Heb. 3: 12-14; 10: 25; Gal. 6: 1; 1John 5: 16; Rev. 7: 14.
Questions: Have I this week sought to recover an erring brother or sister? How? Why?
With what result?
O, PRODIGAL, RETURN!
"RETURN, return! Thy Father's voice is pleading,
Tho' far astray, I bid thee turn again!
Thy robe is rent, thy tender feet are bleeding,
Thy heart is faint and sick with famine pain:
Return, My child: a welcome here awaits thee:
No longer in the distant country rove;
Resist the cruel tempter that belates thee,
And keeps thee from My dwelling and My love."
Return, return! Thy Father's loving-kindness
Thou long hast scorned, and done His grace despite;
Yet in His touch is healing for thy blindness,
And He can turn thy darkness into light.
Return in all thy rags of sin's defilement;
Return with all thy want and sore distress;
Thy Father's voice bespeaks His reconcilement:
Flee to thy Savior and thy guilt confess.
Return, return! Thy substance hath been wasted—
Thou hast not aught to bring but thy poor heart;
Yet art thou longing for the bread once tasted.
And for His paths of peace, and faith's good part?
Return, for why shouldst thou delay the pardon
Thy Father's great compassion waits to grant!
Arise and go, before thy doubts shall harden
The homesick yearnings of the penitent.
Return, return! Leave thou the swine and famine
And seek again the plenty of thy home!
Why dost thou toil among the husks of mammon,
When to His rest the Father bids thee come?
Return thou to His arms, His kiss, His blessing,
Accept the robe, the sandals, and the ring,
After thy sinfulness and guilt confessing,
By Jesus found, lost treasure of the King!
Return, return! The angel-hosts bend o'er thee—
They wait to bear the tidings' joyful sound.
They have beheld the Savior dying for thee,
And will rejoice to sing, The lost is found!
Return, for He will heal all thy backsliding—
Will love thee freely, and will thus forgive;
Come, weary soul, rest in His love abiding,
Thou hast been dead—arise today and live!
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