Salvation: What does it mean to fall from grace?
We have one key verse of Scripture that speak of this in the King James Version of the Bible.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. [Emphasis added]
All too often falling from grace is equated with a loss of one’s salvation. But is that what this statement represents? This matter of losing one’s salvation is so common that I already have articles about this on our website. One you’ll probably want to read is this one.
Salvation: Is the salvation of a Believer secure?
You should be glad, even excited to know that once you’ve been saved, your salvation is perfectly secure. The truth of the matter is that you couldn’t even lose it if you wanted to. That’s because the Bible tells us the Holy Spirit seals it the moment you’re saved. This was true even for such a sinful group as the believers in the Corinthian church.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? [Emphasis added]
That last phrase saying they “walk as men” tells us they were acting just like unbelievers. There was no evidence at all in their conduct to indicate that they were saved. One can hardly name a sin these people were not guilty of committing. If you have some doubt about that, just read through the book of 1 Corinthians sometime. So, again, once a person accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior, his salvation is sealed and settled forever.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. [Emphasis added]
Here we’re told that God gives us the Holy Spirit at the point of our salvation as a form of earnest that guarantees the security of our salvation. We are then and there permanently indwelt with the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [Emphasis added]
There’s a whole article on our website about this entitled, Holy Spirit: Does He really indwell all believers today?
We’ve been given more than one passage that assures us of the security of our salvation through this sealing work of the Holy Spirit.
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Emphasis added]
We may grieve the Holy Spirit by our sinfulness, but the security of our salvation is never lost because of it.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. [Emphasis added]
Falling from grace actually has nothing to do with the loss of one’s salvation. The “falling” from grace that is discussed in Galatians 5:4 has to do with a falling out with the grace message of salvation. Observing the Mosaic Law is neither totally nor partially the means to anyone’s salvation or spirituality. There we have the Greek word EKPIPTO for fallen. Here’s the verse again.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen [EKPIPTO = to fall out of] from grace. [Emphasis added]
People are so often thinking God will be impressed with what they do so as to cause Him to save them. The reality is that He wants us to be impressed with what He has done in Christ to provide a way of salvation for us. Anything we might do for our salvation is totally inadequate, but what He has done is completely adequate. Our faith for salvation must be in that and that alone. It is faith in Christ plus nothing. Salvation is a gift, not a reward for anything we have done or may do in the future.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]
I even have an article about this on our website.
Salvation: Is it really a gift?
If we could provide for our salvation ourselves, there would have been no need for God to provide us with a Savior. It was because of our hopeless and helpless situation, along with His love for us, that He sent Jesus Christ to do for us what we could never have done for ourselves.
8 But God commendeth [SUNISTEMI = set together] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]
Though we were separated from Him by our sin, a work of reconciliation has occurred to bring us together, providing a way for us to be made one with Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]
It is His work and His work alone that makes all this a possibility for anyone. The only thing we ever contributed to our salvation was the sin that made it necessary. The only part we play in it is to believe it, that is, to receive what He has provided by the expression of our faith. No work of our own has anything to do with it.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. [Emphasis added]
The Galatian believers that are addressed in our initial passage had fallen away from right thinking on this. It is that which was their problem, not their loss of or failure to keep their salvation. False teachers had come in telling them that faith in Christ was not enough for salvation. These Gentiles were told by them that they needed to be circumcised and to follow the teachings of the Mosaic Law to be saved. In other words, they were saying the works of the Mosaic Law were essential for their salvation. We have similar thinking going on today by some people. It may not involve the Mosaic Law, but some other form or expression of personal works. However, the fact of the matter is that we are saved by grace through faith alone. The object of our faith must be the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing we do in any way contributes to it. After a person is saved, there are all kinds of things a believer can learn to do as expressions of his appreciation for his salvation and his desire to lead a life that pleases God. That can and will contribute to the quality of his life as well as his rewards in Heaven, but it contributes nothing at all to his salvation. That is all completely settled at one point in time.
Falling from grace represents the idea of accepting some form of personal works as the means to one’s salvation rather than faith alone in the one work of Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection. It, therefore, represents a departure from the principle of grace to an unacceptable substitute. The substitute, of course, has no ability at all to provide salvation for anyone.