Wandering from the Truth
James 5:19-20
Brothers, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

Truth is the purest, the most powerful, and the most enduring thing in the universe. Truth makes God to be God, and when God came in the flesh, the brightest crown He could place upon His own head, the noblest name He could give to His personality was "The Truth." All the wrongs in the universe begin by a wandering from the truth. This is so in every department of human thought, emotion, and action. It is because the sin begins in some slight departure, in the man, from that which is true, leading to a departure of the affections, which produces a departure in the outward life, that men should be strenuously anxious to know the truth, especially the truth as to their highest things, their highest connections; the truth as to God, their own nature, their relations to God, and their own character. When men talk of the valuelessness of doctrine, and say it does not matter what a man believes so that his life is right, they show their absolute ignorance of the whole subject. It is as if one should say, it is no matter what disease a man has so long as he has health. The outward life of a man is the product of his character, and his character is the product of his creed. If there be one rule without an exception this must be the rule. It certainly is the counterpart in the spiritual world of the fact in physics that no stream ever rises above its source. Now, the source of the outer life is the creed. Nay, it is something still stronger than that. A man is just what he believes, no more, no less. Neither God nor the devil can make him any more or any less. To make any change in him the good or the bad need not strive to mould his outer life, or by any other process attempt to change his character except by efforts to make a change in his creed. If he have believed error, to make him a good man he must be brought to faith in the truth; if he have such faith, to make him a bad man all that is necessary is to break the hold of his faith on the truth. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Now the phrase, "thinks in his heart," is equivalent to "creed," creed being compounded of two words, signifying that form of belief to which I give my heart. If any one shall object to this that there are so many who profess a good creed and lead a bad life, the reply is ready. In such a case the creed is only professed, not held. Indeed, a creed is not that which a man holds at all; it is that which holds him. When a man once comes into vital connection with the creed, he is never its master; it is always his.

(C. F. Deems, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

WEB: Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,

To Sabbath-School Teachers and Other Soul-Winners
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