Fallen Away from Grace

Romans 5:4. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law: ye are fallen from grace.”

Here is a verse that those who do not believe in eternal security like to use as proof that one can lose his salvation. So let’s take a close look, and see what this verse really says.

There can be no argument that the person who is replacing the efficacy of grace in his life with adherence to the Law has indeed fallen away from grace. What we have to do is correctly translate Paul’s statement, and keep it in context with the rest of the book.

Paramount in this letter is Paul’s strong urging of the Galatian believers not to be deceived by the teaching of the Judaizers. This is a letter written to Christians, not to unbelievers.  Here is an excellent response I pulled from another source that explains the issue better than I ever could:

The whole issue here is what falling from grace means. Does it mean that the believers in question have fallen from their positional standing in grace? If it does, then Paul contradicts himself because in other passages he clearly states that is impossible (Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Colossians 2:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:10; 2 Timothy 2:13). Since scripture is God’s Word, it cannot contradict itself. Thus, whatever Paul meant by falling from grace he did not mean falling from one’s position as a child of God.

Is there not another obvious alternative, one which fits the context and Pauline and biblical theology perfectly? Falling from grace means that a believer who reverts to pharisaical thinking and practices has fallen from a present experience of grace. While our position in the grace of God is secure, our experience of His grace is not.

If a believer today is unwittingly duped into joining a works-salvation cult, he will cease to experience God’s grace until he leaves the cult. In fact, if a believer joins any group, cult or otherwise, which teaches that we must produce good works in order to maintain our salvation, he will cease to experience grace. Even the linking of assurance to the quality of our lives can lead a believer to fall from a daily experience of grace.

Falling from grace is a real problem today. May we proclaim the gospel and assurance clearly so that we can help people begin anew or continue to experience God’s grace in their daily lives.

http://www.faithalone.org/magazine/y1988/88jan1.html

Paul wanted the Galatians to joyfully experience the whole of the grace of God. This whole letter is his effort to persuade them that they are giving up the fullness of joy.  He is not talking about the loss of salvation; he is talking about walking in grace, walking in joy, walking, as we shall soon see, in the fulness of the Holy Spirit.

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