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James 5:20

James 5:20:

 

"20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (KJV)

 

"remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (NIV)

 

What does this passage mean? 

 

More specifically, the part that says "cover over a multitude of sins."

 

This is because we know the blood of Christ is the atonement for sins, so in what way does doing a "work" (convincing a sinner to repent) cover our sins? 

 

Or is it more likely that it's the sinner who repents who has their sins covered? 

 

 

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Restoring the sinner:

My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

 

It's about helping someone to return back to the Lord so that person might avoid 2nd Death and receive eternal life. 

Returning back to the lord also means to repent of your all your sins. To help someone repent of their sins hence restoring the sinner back to the path of righteousness.

 

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

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Does it really make any sense for the part of the passage after the conjunction to refer to the sinner who is saved? Is this not only a problem for Protestants to comprehend? It fits effortlessly into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology in which faith and works are internally related, and where salvation is conceived as a process, not a synchronic legal decree.

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James 5:20:

 

"20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (KJV)

 

"remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save  them from death and cover over a multitude of sins." (NIV)

 

What does this passage mean? 

 

More specifically, the part that says "cover over a multitude of sins."

 

This is because we know the blood of Christ is the atonement for sins, so in what way does doing a "work" (convincing a sinner to repent) cover our sins? 

 

Or is it more likely that it's the sinner who repents who has their sins covered?

I think your latter suggestion is correct. The repentance leads to the covering of the sinner's sins, not the one leading him to repentance.

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Does it really make any sense for the part of the passage after the conjunction to refer to the sinner who is saved? Is this not only a problem for Protestants to comprehend? It fits effortlessly into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology in which faith and works are internally related, and where salvation is conceived as a process, not a synchronic legal decree.

 

If you only look at James 5:20 you might get that impression.

 

But you need to take all Bible passages into consideration. To be more sure we'd also have to look up the original Greek (which admittedly I haven't done for this passage yet). 

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If you only look at James 5:20 you might get that impression.

 

But you need to take all Bible passages into consideration. To be more sure we'd also have to look up the original Greek (which admittedly I haven't done for this passage yet). 

 

I do not think the Greek is much help either. 

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