Have You Fallen From Grace?
Larry Martinez • October 1, 2020
We have all seen on television or read something online of well-known ministers who have fallen into some type of scandal or sexual sin.
It’s heartbreaking, but a sad truth that DOES happen.
When this news hits the world, it usually is under the header of:
“FALLEN FROM GRACE”
I think this phrase has become so stamped into our minds to mean “falling into a scandal or sexual sin”.
And we automatically think it means that without researching this phrase.
My goal in this blog is to show you where this phrase comes from and what it meant in the
context it was written.
So, where does “Fallen from Grace” come from?
Galatians 5:4 (NKJV)
You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
This is something the Apostle Paul used in one of his letters written to the Galatians.
I want you to notice that this is written in chapter 5, which means that we need to get a little more context and understanding of the letter before we can truly understand this phrase.
The Church at Galatia
The Galatian church was made of mostly non-Jewish people (Gentiles) and taught by the Apostle Paul in their new Christian journey that salvation was apart from any keeping of Jewish law, specifically circumcision.
However, after Paul leaves the area some outsiders come in and dispute everything he taught.
They tried to persuade the Galatians that keeping Jewish law is needed in this new Christian walk.
So, most of Paul’s letter is coming against that.
Paul from the start comes against these outsiders:
Galatians 1:6–9 (NKJV)
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
We can see from this opening section that he is surprised because the church of Galatia was so soon turning away from the Gospel that he taught them because of the troubling outsiders.
Paul makes a strong statement by letting them know that it did not matter if it was an angel from heaven that comes down... they should not be moved from his teaching.
If we move forward to Galatians 3, Paul starts by asking the Galatians why they allowed
themselves to be put under a spell.
They were now trying to mature and grow in their walk with Christ by the works of the law.
He does this by asking them a series of questions.
Then Paul makes a powerful statement:
Galatians 3:11 (NKJV)
But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”
This would have been a powerful punch to the outsiders who were encouraging the Galatians that keeping the law was needed even though they were Christians.
Paul is letting them know that no works of the Old Covenant law can or will ever justify or make them right with God.
As you continue to read Galatians 3, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that people are only justified and right with God by faith in Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at another passage:
Galatians 3:23–25 (NKJV)
But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Again, Paul keeps on and on about his readers, making sure they understand that justification is only by faith and not law/works.
I would encourage you to continue reading and studying the remaining chapters of Galatians.
In them, Paul continues the separation of faith and works.
The reason we have to understand the flow and thought behind the letter is because it helps create context in order to understand the "falling from grace" scripture.
One thing we must learn to not do when studying the Scriptures is isolate one verse without the broader context.
The danger of doing so creates distorted interpretations and ideologies.
In light of everything we have read and looked at so far, nowhere have we read anything along the lines of “scandals” or “sexual sins”.
Which now leads us into the flow of our topic:
Galatians 5:1–5 (NKJV)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who
becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Paul is telling them again to stay in their freedom.
Remember, that was the whole point of the letter - countering what the outsiders were saying.
The freedom of being brought under the law!
It’s a yoke of bondage that no one is called to carry, because none of us would be able to, even if we tried.
It goes on to say that if you desire to be circumcised you are required to keep the whole law.
Then Paul makes that powerful statement:
“You have Fallen from Grace”
How did they fall from Grace?
If they tried in any way to be justified and accepted by God based on the works of the law, Paul said they have FALLEN FROM GRACE!
So now we see, by reading the Scriptures, "fallen from Grace" is when anyone tries to merit salvation by keeping rules or the works of the Old Testament law.
I also like that Paul uses the word “fallen” to describe someone.
When you fall it’s because you were at a higher place.
I think this is important because it gives you the understanding that to go back under the law of "do’s and dont's" is to actually leave a higher place.
So friends, don’t lower yourself to a system of laws instead of faith in Christ.
Because not only would you be lowering yourself from an elevated position...
You would be falling from grace!