Every once in a while we see on the news about a toddler who got out of the house undetected and was found wandering around in the nearby locale. Usually it comes to light that one of the parents was only distracted for a few minutes when the child wandered off. Sometimes the outcome in such situations is tragic, so we all breathe a sign of relief when the child is found unharmed. Those of us who have kids and grandkids truly appreciate such situations.
James writes about church wanderers. These wanderers stray away from the truth. James does not indicate whether this is a departure from sound doctrine or a drifting away in obedience to the word. He could have both under consideration. Note carefully that these Christians stray from the truth. In so writing James is arguing that there is objective truth, and it is possible to wander from it. That truth is, of course, the word of God (John 17:17). There is no truth given to the human race other than the Holy Scriptures for teaching us God’s ways.
These wanderers at one time embraced the truth but have now strayed from it. This is another argument against the erroneous doctrine of “once saved always saved.” This wandering is also fatal. Just as sometimes the toddler who wanders off comes to a terrible end, so the person who wanders from the truth faces death, but of a different kind. Observe that those who turn them back will save a “soul from death.” The consequences are eternal. Peter says their situation is worse than before they knew the Lord (2 Peter 2:20-22).
However, we praise our God because these wanderers can be rescued by turning them from the error of their way and bringing them back to the truth of God. And note this: any Christian can do this! Certainly it is the responsibility of the shepherds of a congregation, but rescuing wanderers is for anyone who has the whole-hearted love of God for his/her wandering brother or sister.
Are you aware of someone who has wandered from the truth?