Summary: James teaches Christians that they are to pray and confess their sins and he also gives the promise of an effectual fervent prayer receiving great results.
1. Open your bibles to James 5:16.
2. In this verse James teaches Christians some very important things about sins and prayers.
3. No Christian can live without committing sin on occasions and no Christian should ever go through any day without going to God in prayer.
4. Again, James is teaching Christians about two very important subjects.
5. Let’s begin our study of sin and of prayer.
I. FIRST, JAMES 5:16a, TEACHES THAT CHRISTIANS CAN BE HEALED THROUGH CONFESSION AND PRAYER.
1. Let’s read James 5:16a, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
(1) The word “trespasses” is in the NKJV.
(2) In the KJV it is translated “faults”. It is translated “sins” in the ASV.
2. We have a question. Is the last part of verse 16a referring to the healing of the body, as in verses 14-15? Or is it the healing of the soul? Is it referring to forgiveness of sins?
(1) Our answer: Since the first part of the first phrase of verse sixteen is referring to the confessing of sins; it seems obvious that the second part of the first phrase of verse sixteen is referring to spiritual healing, not to physical healing.
(2) Look at verse 16 closely. The problem being discussed in the first part of v. 16 is the guilt of sin. James is teaching that when the guilty one confesses their sin, then prayer is to be made in his or her behalf relating to that sin, not a prayer relating to them being physically sick .
3. The word translated healed is the Greek word iaomai and means ‘to heal, cure, revive, to recover.’ In some passages the word refers to physical healing, but then in other passages the context bears out that it refers to spiritual healing. The statements in James 5:16 emphasize that it would refer to spiritual healing.
4. Let’s read a couple of passages that use the Greek word in reference to spiritual healing.
(1) Turn and let’s read Matt. 13:15. Here, Jesus quotes Isaiah. In another N. T. passage Paul quotes the same passage from Isaiah and both Jesus and Paul use the word “heal” in reference to spiritual healing. Let’s read Matt. 13:15, “15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” Jesus is referring to spiritual healing.
(2) Turn and let’s read 1 Peter 2:24. Here, Peter uses the word “healed” in reference to spiritual healing that comes through Christ’s death on the cross. “24 who Himself (Christ) bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” Peter is referring to spiritual healing.
5. James 5:16a, I believe uses the word “healed” in reference to being forgiven of our sins.