Because I Am A Soulwinner
- James 5:19 “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
- 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.”
Before getting to the main purpose of this article on standing, I want to make sure the reader is aware of their responsibility to lead lost souls to Jesus Christ. From Proverbs 11:30, this duty is called “soulwinning.”
- “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”
Every believer is duty bound to reach those headed to hell and try to persuade them to turn from eternal death in hell to eternal life in heaven; from Satan to Jesus. This responsibility is proclaimed in many passages: Mt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:47; Rom. 1:14; Pro. 11:30; Dan. 12:3; Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33 (3:16-21 and 33:1-19), etc….
The main purpose of this article, however, and a part of soulwinning that is often missed does not concern the conversion of lost souls but rather backslidden souls. If, dear reader, you will go back slowly through the passages of Scripture urging the believer’s duty to win souls, you will notice that our duty is only partially fulfilled if we only lead lost souls to Jesus. Every believer is also responsible to reach backslidden believers. Look at the text again. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth” indicates a saved brother, yet a backslidden brother. Therefore the words “convert” and “converteth” in our text refer to a backslidden brother being restored to proper fellowship in God’s family. This work of deliverance “shall save a soul from death” in a saved believer just as surely as delivering a soul who has never known Jesus as Savior.
Keep exploring the other passages on soulwinning. Notice how Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33 exhort God’s people to warn both the wicked and the righteous from their wicked way. The soulwinner is pictured in these passages as the watchman on the wall. The Christian watchman’s duty is the same for either the wicked or the righteous; both must be warned of the danger of their wicked choices. Now look at Dan. 12:3:
- “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
The soulwinner and the watchman are responsible for turning others to righteousness whether they be lost souls or backslidden souls. In II Peter 3:9, we learn that “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Whether a soul is lost or born again, wicked or righteous, God is not willing that any should die in their sins. God wants all, the lost and the backslidden to come to repentance. Have you ever noticed Jesus’ parables (vs. 3) about lost things in Luke 15? In verses 4-6, Jesus talks about a lost sheep. Notice that the story is not about a lost goat (picture of lost soul – Mt. 25:32-33), but rather, sheep. Although it is true that lost souls are pictured as sheep (Is. 53:6; including the lost sheep of the house of Israel – Mt. 10:6, 15:24), sheep are also God’s saved (Jn. 10:27-28). Also in Lk. 15:11-32, Jesus tells of the prodigal son. Again, notice God’s precise choice of words: a son. Whether it is the bitter son or the backslidden son in the story, God wants all to come to repentance. And “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (vs.10) Heaven rejoices whether that sinner’s repentance leads to salvation for a lost soul or revival for a backslidden soul.
Dear believer, in order to “win” either a lost soul bound for hell or a saved soul bound by sin back to truth and righteousness, you will need to take a stand against sin for truth. This will take courage. This will take compassion. This will take Christ. But no matter what, you will need to stand. Why emphasize all of this? Because the contemporary church is only concerned with reaching lost souls bound for hell. Too often the modern church avoids the backslidden believer. In fact, they go so far as to paint the soulwinner who tries to convert his erring brother as judgmental and divisive and dangerous to a local church. As a result, many believers do not stand against sin for truth whether it be a lost soul or a backslidden soul. Of course, if a believer doesn’t properly follow Galatians 6:1, then their desire to help a brother “overtaken in a fault” will be made worse since the exhorter is not spiritual themselves, and as the previous chapter in Galatians revealed (5:19-21), the flesh produces hate and death and makes matters worse. Only a Spirit-filled life (Eph. 5:18) can produce the all-in-one “fruit of the Spirit” (5:22-23), and, therefore, be “spiritual” (“Ye which are spiritual…”). Otherwise, without Spirit-fulness, the believer is just as backslidden and unspiritual as the brother “overtaken in a fault.” No matter what, though, every believer is responsible to act the watchman and warn both the wicked and the righteous of their erring path be they lost or saved.
So, in conclusion, I stand up for truth against sin and witness to both the lost and the saved; converting both lost souls and backslidden souls, because I am a soulwinner.
A word to the wise:
- Proverbs 18:19 “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”
As God reveals, winning offended believers back to the Lord is an extremely difficult task. It is possible, though, since “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mk. 9:23) “with God” (Mt. 19:26) and “through Christ” (Phil. 4:13).