Passage: Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 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.
Journal: Throughout his Epistle, James has maintained that prevalent in man is a dead faith. That is, man is prone to acknowledge God with his lips and disavow God with his actions. Such is the heart of unregenerate man. I suppose there are three categories of man. First, unregenerate man that outwardly rejects God (outright rejection). Second, unregenerate man that outwardly accepts God, but inwardly rejects God through inaction (conversion, without regeneration). Third, regenerate man that accepts God in both word and action (regeneration, followed by conversion). It seems to me that most of the world falls into the first category. It seems to me that most of the western world falls into the second category. The sinner referenced by James, the man who has "wandered from the truth," is unregenerate man. This "wandering" is false doctrine, whether the god worshipped is a creation of man (Muslim, Hindu, etc.) or the god worshipped is the true God that has been reshaped into man's image (a god that does not punish evil, is tolerant of deviant behavior, or throws wide the door for multiple pathways to salvation).
The child of God possesses truth. The child of God possesses truth only because the God of truth has opened the eyes of darkness with the light of truth. Thus, the child of God is humbled and thankful, for an unregenerate heart was natural for him as well. It is the regeneration that is unnatural; a gift from God. It is in this humility that one seeks to "[turn] a sinner from the error of his way." The regenerate MUST have compassion on souls bound for eternal condemnation, for God miraculously saved the child of God from walking shoulder to shoulder with them down that lonesome path. Is it the "multitude of sins" of the regenerate or of the sought out sinner that is "[covered]?" It seems to be the sins of the sought out sinner, but I don't think it matters. We are all steeped in a "multitude of sins," and only one such sin would rightfully separate us from the holy presence of God. It is in repentance (one who turns "from the error of his way") that one turns to Christ, and it is in Christ that one is covered. This covering is a unique shelter, designed by God for His own glory. Shelters designed by man are flawed, and will not stand up to the storm of judgment.