What does falling from grace mean? The Apostle Paul told the Galatians in Galatians 5:4: “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” My dear brethren this is the true definition of “falling (away) from grace.” Today when someone sins, most people say that they have fallen from grace, but the Apostle Paul never told anyone in the church that they had fallen away from grace because of their sins. Now hear this…to fall away from grace then is to fall into the law…look again at the above scripture…Galatians 5:4…”You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
One of the biggest problems in the church today is the mixing of the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace. Some believe you are justified by grace alone through faith alone, while others believe you must keep the law to be justified. Well, who is right and does it really matter if we believe differently?
Well, it mattered enough to the Apostle Paul for him to pronounce the double curse for those who mix law and grace…In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul wrote: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.”
For the record, it was the Judaizers who were encouraging the mixture of the old covenant of law with the new covenant of grace.
Now many believers do not think that it is a serious matter to have mixture. However, our response to the mixture of law and grace should be in alignment with the Apostle Paul. He was appalled that the Galatians were mixing the old covenant with the new. In fact in Chapter 3 Verse 1 Paul wrote: “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?” In II Corinthians 3:6 Paul writes: “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (law) but of the Spirit (grace); for the letter (law) kills, but the Spirit (grace) gives life.”
While most people have no problem with agreeing that they have been saved by grace, they are nevertheless still subjecting themselves to the law. They are depending on their obedience to the law to earn God’s blessing. When they do well, in their own estimation, they expect to be blessed. When they fail or fall short, they expect to be punished. Such a system as this sounds awfully similar to the old covenant…the one under the law.
Grace is the undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor of God. The moment we try to merit the blessing and free favors of God by keeping the law, His grace is nullified….you have fallen away from grace.
God wants us to be blessed on account of what His Son Jesus did for us, not what we do for Him. Those trying to be justified by their law keeping still have an old covenant mentality even though they profess they are in the new covenant. They have reverted to the old system that was based on works and obedience rather than trusting in the new system that is based on faith and believing.
It’s not easy for a teacher to preach pure grace with no mixing of the law, because when you do, you make nothing of man and everything of Jesus. And man does not like that. Grace takes control away from man and forces man to live in the place of constant faith in Christ for everything. Remember John 15:5: ”Apart from Christ, we can do nothing…”
The law makes everything of man’s effort while grace gives all the glory to God. Religious people react when they hear that they can no longer boast in their self-efforts to keep the law.
The people who truly appreciate grace are those who have come to the end of themselves, to the end of their efforts to live the Christian life. They have tried over and over again until they have finally given up and admitted that they cannot meet the law’s unyielding standard. It’s at that time they realize all of God’s standards and teachings were really meant to be applied to the new life He puts within us at salvation. “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come.” II Corinthians 5:17
Remember the mystery of our faith…”Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Mixing law and grace is dangerous. It will cause you to live in confusion and our God is not the author of confusion. It is time to stop the mixture and confusion. Choose either the new covenant of grace or the old covenant of law. You cannot live under both covenants.
The Apostle Paul asked the question, “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law.” (Romans 7:7) So then, the law is holy…righteous and good. But its purpose was to make us aware of our sin and drive us to Christ Jesus for His righteousness.
“Jesus Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4
Mixing law and grace makes for lukewarm Christians. Look at Jesus’ message to the church on mixture in Revelations 3:15-16 for more insight.
Let’s close by looking at Galatians 5:4 in the New Living Translation: “For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. “
The New Century Version is even clearer…”If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over—you have left God’s grace.” Well Amen!
MICHAEL WELLS CALLED HOME: Our dear brother in Christ, a mentor and friend to this ministry, one of the best expositors of the grace message, went home to be with the Lord on October 11, 2011. He was in Costa Rica doing grace missionary work. Please keep his wife, Betty and his family in your prayers. Visit his website for more information HYPERLINK “http://www.abidinglife.com” www.abidinglife.com
I thank and praise God every day for your prayers and financial support as you partner with Growing in Grace Ministries for the glory of God. You are the best!