This is not language I would use comfortably, but in James five, God makes clear through Jesus’ half-brother that we can in a way save one another.
“My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
There is an over-used term in Christian circles and an under-utilized opportunity: Accountability.
True Christian accountability is something sweet and hugely mending, molding, shaping, transforming, helpful, and refreshing at the end of the day. When you are being held to account for your sinfulness, you feel small and sinful and anything but loved. However, if there is a sibling relationship between you and the one addressing your sins, and if you trust them, that they love you and are sharing their concern because of this love and not because of a prideful desire to be saviors that replace The Savior, Jesus… Then, it is true for sure what James says here, I can say so experientially. No thank you to anyone trying to replace Jesus on the throne as the a “saint who feels they can change me”. Believe me, I’ve sought to be this in people’s lives. I know I’ve been looked at as that self-righteous punk that tells you what you should believe and tells you where you’re in sin and could use some fine-tuning or major over-hauling. However, I’ve been on the receiving end of careful, surgeon-like care, especially when God’s Word is humbly and gently applied to my soul, my very inner being, by a brother or sister in Christ who I know loves and cares for me. I’ve been “saved” by these valiant acts of love, these riskings of our relationship for the sake of my eternal relationship with Jesus. My relationship with Jesus is the most important thing about me. It’s the only thing I wake up to with eternal hope for eternal grace. My daily walk with Jesus is deeply aided by loving words from loving siblings in Christ.
My hope would be that believers re-embrace the joy and benefit of Christian accountability. Unfortunately, holding each other to account is far in the background as far as a subject matter pastors will teach on from their pulpits. We would far rather speak of God’s grace and love in general terms and celebrate how beautiful it is from a distance. When we care for one another graciously and tenderly, and especially when we come to one another confessing our sin and weakness (less difficult and quickest means of grace is humble confession rather than having to be addressed by other)… God is quick to show us His favor through our siblings in Christ. We find acceptance and forgiveness of course in the quiet of our devotional life before God and in our daily walk of prayer and trust with Him, but we also find it in the loving attention and care of our siblings in Christ. From that place of encouragement, we find more and more energy to live joyfully and obediently in the presence of the Holy Spirit and with our fellow siblings in Christ. We together find the passion and inertia to race on into still more grace by engaging the needs of those we encounter together. We love the lost and found alike with more passion as we experience transforming grace in the shadow of the cross of Jesus Christ. God’s forgiveness gives us passion to show our siblings in Christ and the lost the favor they don’t deserve… We can show this favor because we will never deserve all the favor we receive from our Eternal God in Christ.
Much love, siblings in Christ!