Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fallen From Grace

Would I be wrong in saying that in most of the world, including the church world, the phrase "fallen from grace" usually means that a person has been in some sort of "respectable" position, but then has done some bad deed or deeds? As long as I've heard people using that phrase, that's generally what they've meant by it. And I do understand it... because the word "grace" does have several meanings. It can mean "a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment." So in a worldly (and religious, legalistic) sense, to "fall from grace" can mean to fall from such a respectable position.

But thank God that that's not what it means to Him! To be walking "in grace" has absolutely nothing to do with any "respectable position" that we hold among our peers, or even before God, through our own deeds or performance. Walking in grace means to be trusting solely in the finished work of Christ, and in the life of Christ that indwells us. It means that we have trusted in God's grace, not only for justification, but also for the living of our daily lives in Him.
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (Gal 5:4)
It's not those who have "performed well" and then have turned to "performing poorly" who have fallen from grace. It's those who have once trusted solely in grace but have turned to trusting in their own deeds for justification and daily living.

Some would argue that Paul's words to the Galatians (not only the verse above, but the entire passage surrounding it) are only in regards to "getting saved." But Paul is not talking about getting saved here! His whole epistle is written to those who are saved by grace through faith but are trying to maintain their salvation by their works!

Paul goes on to say:
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Gal 5:7-9)
They had been "running well." What, on the basis of their performance? No! Performance set aside, Paul was talking about their living by grace, not by their works or performance. They were now hindered from "obeying the truth." What, on the basis of obeying laws and commands? No! Obeying the truth of lives that are lived solely by grace!

O foolish Galatians! O foolish church! Come back to grace!


  1. Fallen from grace....fallen from the knowledge of WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST! Adam & Eve fell from this in the garden. Their thinking was changed. You're right, Joel. We are mistakenly taught that to be less than perfect in our performance is to fall from grace when in reality shifting our focus from CHRIST to SELF, from LIFE to GOOD VS. EVIL is to fall. Our thinking becomes CARNAL not heavenly and we stumble in our understanding of how God sees us. A stumble in our walk is always predicated by one between our ears. And then we have an IDENTITY CRISIS in which we forget WHY WE ARE WHO WE ARE! Not because of what we DO but because of what Jesus DID! Oh, to live as we REALLY ARE! To just believe and rest in that.

    This is a GREAT post!! :)

    BTW, Yo, Breeze...how are you??

  2. Yes! "To just believe and rest in that." To stumble is to lose sight of Christ, and who we are in Him by grace. To make it about our performance is to fall from grace indeed.

    Da Breeze is doing good, btw. :) It's been a challenging summer, so to speak, with lots of things going on on every side. No rest for the wicked... LOL. That was entirely a joke, of course, as I'm making sure I get physical rest and rest for my soul in the midst of all the craziness!

  3. Friends / Joel, check out this excerpt from a bob george book that I read yesterday... seems like ya coulda wrote this book Joel but Im looking forward to your version...

    From B.G. Classic Christianity…

    “Paul doesn't stop with his exhortation to stand firm in our freedom, though. He also issues a warning: "Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all" (Galatians 5:2).

    This is an amazing statement. Paul earlier in the letter recognized that they were truly born again. Under what

    148 / Free from the Yoke of Slavery

    possible circumstances could you ever say to a Christian that Christ would be of no benefit to him? The answer comes in verse 3: "Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law."

    You will find that a characteristic of legalists is that they always want to "cherry-pick" their favorite laws. Nobody ever tries to keep them all; they just want to hold onto their favorites. But Paul is stressing the fact that you are either under law or under grace. You can't be under grace and continue to hold onto even one law. Reliance on just one law to make you acceptable to God brings you into the entire realm of law. That's why Paul says later in the chapter, "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough" (Galatians 5:9).

    It takes only one law to spoil the entirety of grace. You can't be trusting what you do and what Jesus Christ has done at the same time! Paul finishes his argument with a shocking statement: "You who are trying to be justified by law have... fallen away from grace" (Galatians 5:4). This verse has been taken out of context countless times to threaten Christians that they will lose their salvation if they commit too many sins. That is a tremen­dous error.

    First, the phrase "fallen away from grace" has nothing to do with losing your salvation. You can clearly see from the context that it means to fall out of the freedom of grace back into the slavery of the law!

    Second, it's not those Christians who have committed certain sins that have "fallen away from grace." It says, "You who are trying to be justified by law" are the ones who have fallen from grace. In other words, the very people who would maintain that you can either gain God's acceptance by your performance or lose it by your failures are the ones this verse is talking about. Legalists are the ones who have fallen from grace!

    Free from the Yoke of Slavery I 149

    We are beloved, accepted children of God, who have been called to His "banquet table" to experience Jesus Christ living in and through us every day. Abundant life is not "pie-in-the-sky" or nebulous theory. It is real, and it is ours for the taking if we will only believe. Let's not settle for anything less”.

  4. Hmmm... good stuff, you guys! The phrase "fallen from grace" is one of the major weapons used against the security of a believer's salvation. They say, bible says "fallen from grace", which means you can lose your salvation... It's nonsense! Like Joel and Bob George points out, falling from grace simply means, falling under law.

    I think it was Bob George who once said, living under grace is like living in higher realm, like flying in an airplane. If you jump out of the airplane (or the law of aerodynamics), you AUTOMATICALLY fall under the law of gravity. There is no middle ground.

  5. you thought right, Im pretty sure that was in the same chapter.

  6. OH! Classic Christianity...GREAT BOOK! :)

  7. Great excerpt, Leonard! So much great stuff just in that little piece that you shared. One law cancels out grace entirely, so it must be grace all the way or it's grace none of the way.

    I like what Paul also said in his passion against the law, just a little bit further down in the Galatians 5 passage here. "I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!"

    Or as The Message puts it, "Why don't these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!"

    Either go all the way with the law, or leave it alone entirely!

    Bino, I love that airplane analogy. The 'law' that is keeping us in the air (in the airplane) is all we need. If we step out, we "fall" into the other law (gravity). Good stuff, all.