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Bible Search
"You are Fallen from Grace"
Rightly Dividing the Word
“You are Fallen from Grace”
Galatians 5:1-6
 
There are some Bible verses you can be wrong about or misunderstand and it’s not that big of a deal.  They are a matter of interpretation and good and sincere people will view them differently. 
 
An example of that is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 which talks about the coming of the Lord and how we are not to be bothered by what we see going on around us.  In verse 3, Paul reminds them that the Day of the Lord will not come until there occurs the “falling away”. 
 
Most scholars interpret that to reference an apostasy, a falling away from the faith that will occur in the last days.  And there are other verses that point to that truth.  But in this instance, he is talking specifically about the chronology of events that will lead up to the appearance of the anti-Christ and in that context he says, that’s not going to happen until the “falling away” takes place. 
 
And if you look at the definitions for that word, you will see it can mean a falling away. In fact, that is its primary meaning.  But it can also mean a “taking away or a going away” and I think it is a rapture verse that is telling us we will be gone before the appearance of the anti-Christ. 
 
And while it’s interesting to study and consider, it doesn’t make that much difference because as Christians, God will take care of us either way.
 
And with that verse, I think it offers a strong argument for a pre-tribulation rapture.  You may not agree or see it like I do, but you better pray I’m right!
 
However, with other verses, we can’t afford to be wrong. Too much is at stake for us to mishandle it.  Such is the case with the passage before us tonight.
 
Listen as I read from
 
Galatians 5:1-6
 
The phrase before us tonight is found in verse 4 and it is “you have fallen from grace”.
 
Now I think it important to note that while this verse gets all the attention, the first verse of the chapter is really where we should focus because it is the pivotal verse of the entire book of Galatians.
 
To help us get the overall picture of the book, we need to know that the six chapters of the book of Galatians break down into three major divisions of two chapters each.
 
In the first two chapters, Paul shares personal matters with us and tells us how it is that he received his message. Basically, he is defending his apostleship and the message of grace that he preaches.
 
In the next two chapters, three and four, he deals with doctrinal matter and in particular, the doctrine of salvation by grace and how we are saved by grace and cannot be saved by law.
 
 
 
In chapters five and six he deals with very practical matters as ne makes the application and explains what it means to be saved by grace. He shows, not only that we saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but that the Christian life is lived by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
So this first verse of this chapter is the pivotal verse of the whole book. It is where the rubber meets the road as he takes the message of salvation and brings it to bear on life.   
 
Everything that has been said up to this point leads to this statement right here. And everything that will be said after this verse flows from this statement.
 
And notice, he is talking about the life of liberty which has been made available for us through the salvation of Jesus Christ by faith in Him. He is basically saying to them, “You have been set free! Now, hold your ground and don't let anybody convince you otherwise.” 
 
And in particular, he is warning them about leaving the doctrine of grace and returning to the doctrine of works and legalism. 
 
If you are a Christian, you need to know there are two primary dangers when it comes to Christian liberty.  There are two primary attacks that seek to undermine and destroy Christian liberty and they come from opposite ends of the spectrum. 
 
One of those extremes is
 
-     License
 
 
This is the view that says once I am saved and secure in Christ, I now have the license to live any old way I want.  And there are multitudes of people who believe that, many on church rolls and in church every Sunday. 
 
They think its okay to live together out of wedlock, have children without being married, drink and cheat and lie and gossip and live like the devil. And if anyone confronts them, they claim to be a Christian. They got their ticket stamped, got them some fire insurance and they’re going to heaven when they die. 
 
That attitude reveal, not only a gross misunderstanding of grace, it is an abuse of Christian liberty. And most likely reveals a heart that has never been saved in the first place. 
 
So danger #1 is believing that being saved by the grace of God gives you a license to live any way you want to live.
 
At the other end of that is
 
-     Legalism
 
If license is a perversion of Christian liberty, legalism is a denial of Christian liberty. Legalism is living the Christian life by obeying a series of rules and regulations and lists.
 
And humans like lists.  We like to be able to check off what we do and what others don’t do and make sure the performance measures up. 
 
But legalism is just as much a threat to salvation by grace as is license. 
So what Paul is going to do in these two chapters is talk about
 
-     Liberty
 
In this case, he is most concerned that those who have been saved don’t forsake the message of salvation by grace and return to the bondage of legalism. 
 
Let’s take a look at what he says about Christian liberty.  He starts with
 
 
1. A Definition
 
What does it mean to be free in Jesus?
 
Verse 1
 
In the first part of this verse he reminds us that the life of Christian liberty is
 
-     a received life 
 
Notice he says, “Christ has made us free.” That's what Christ has done for us.  Liberty is something Christ gives to you. It is not something you deserve or merit or earn or work for or do on your own. But it is a received life.
 
The picture is actually that of slaves being set free by a liberator.  And the emphasis is not just on the act of being set free, but the life that results from that freedom. 
 
 
 
I’m not sure we really understand that prior to being saved, we were the slaves in sin. The Bible describes us like this: “whoever commits sin is the servant of sin." Sin enslaves a person.  We are bound in our sin.  We are entangled and ensnared.   
 
And Christ, our Liberator, came along and set us free. The result is that now we have a brand new life of liberty and freedom.  And that’s all included in that little phrase, “Christ has made us free”.
 
It’s interesting to listen to the nuances of the language as society deals with sinful behaviors.  Sometimes they are referred to as sicknesses or addictions.  I struggle with that because if we aren’t careful, we remove the responsibility for the action. 
 
But the truth of the matter is all sin is addictive. It entangles you. It enslaves you. Sin puts the chains on you.  That's how sin works. You can't play with sin. Sin may start small, but it grows. It gets bigger and bigger and stronger and stronger and it wraps around you.
 
And somewhere down the road, if you keep going down that old path of sin, you will wake up to the fact that you are a slave to sine. 
 
It happens with alcohol and drugs.  Someone starts with a social drink or a cocktail.  But that soon becomes the gateway to more and more and the next thing you know life is controlled by the addiction.  No longer do you control the substance, the substance controls you. It calls the shots and decides the course of action.  Sin is a bondage. Sin puts you in slavery and it is a terrible master!
 
If you want an illustration, go back in the Old Testament and study the life of Samson.  He had allt he potential and opportunity in the world!  He knew what it was to have the Spirit of God come upon him in unusual ways. 
 
But because he thought he had license to sin, we eventually find him being used as an animal to grind grain down in the mill.  He is bound, blind and grinding. And before the story concludes, he will be dead. 
 
Does that not describe people you know?  They thought they were on top of the world.  But now they are bound, blind and life is nothing but a grind.  And unless something changes, they will soon be dead. 
Sin always kills. Sin, when it is finished, the
Bible says brings forth death.
 
Allows sin to get in a romance and it will kill that romance. You let sin get in a family and it will kill that family. You let sin get in any relationship and it will always kill. "The wages of sin is death."
 
And that is the story of every human being.  All have sinned, and we are held in the bondage of our sin.
 
But one day, our hero showed up and the Bible says that "Christ has made us free." That's why
Jesus came. In fact, in Luke 4, Jesus said one of the reasons He came to earth was to “preach deliverance to the captives.”
 
Christ came to set you free from sin. Not that you won't ever sin again, but the truth is now you don't HAVE to sin again. You are not bound by the chains of your sin. You've been set free.
Listen to what Paul said about that issue to the Romans. 
 
Romans 6:22 – “But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, eternal life.”
 
That's what happens when you come to Christ.  Everything about life and eternity changes because we are set free.  
 
Romans 8:2 – “For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
 
That’s not just Paul’s testimony.  That is you testimony! Do you remember when you were set free? Do you remember when you came to the Lord Jesus Christ and He set you free. Do you remember how the load was lifted and the burden was gone? 
 
That's what salvation is all about! It is a received life. It is something Christ gives to you because He died on the cross for your sins. He has forgiven you of your sins. He has broken that bondage of your sins.
 
And that's why he says, "Stand fast!  You’ve received this life.  Now appropriate it and benefit from it. 
 
Thomas Edison invented the electric light. In so doing, he made it possible for us to live in the light instead of in the darkness. But the truth is, no matter how wonderful Mr. Edison's invention is, if you don't take advantage of it, you are destined to live a life of darkness.  The life of liberty is something that has been received from the Lord.
 
Then he says, “Do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
 
He is saying, “Having just been released from slavery, why would you want to return to slavery?”
 
Now he’s dealing with legalism. He is talking about those who have been set free the bondage of sin and now they put themselves under the bondage of legalism, trying to live their lives on the basis of a series of rules and regulations.
 
It's like a man who has been in prison. He's in bondage. His whole life has been run for him. His food has been decided for him. The time he gets up in the morning; the time he goes to bed at night has been decided for him. The work he does has been decided for him.
 
Every decision of his life has been made. Then one day the prison term is over and he is let out of prison. He walks out and breathes that fresh air and he is free.
 
Now the question is, “What do I do now?”  They tell me that the rate of people going back into prison again is very, very high. Do you know why?
 
They don't know what to do with their freedom. They don't know how to live the life of a free person. They have been in bondage so long that now that they are free they don't know how to live like a free person.
 
Did you know there are Christians like that?
 
When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
Proclamation, there were slaves who were set free who continued to live like slaves.
They didn't know what to do with their freedom. 
 
Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ issued the Emancipation Proclamation from sin and those who come to Christ are free in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet they don't know what to do with their freedom.
 
And unfortunately, somebody comes along and says, “You have to live by this list.  Here’s what you can and cannot do and even though they are freed from sin, they are enslaved in the bondage of legalism. 
 
So first of all, Paul offer s this definition of Christian liberty.  Then he gives a  
 
2. Defense
 
verses 2-4
 
Now apparently what had happened was these false teachers had come to Galatia, found these new converts to Christ, and said. “Well, it’s fine to believe in Jesus and accept Him as Savior, but there is more to it than that. In order to be saved, you have to be circumcised.” 
 
In today’s language, that would be similar to being told you have to be baptized to be saved. . .except for the knives and blood and pain that goes along with circumcision. 
 
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather hear that I have to be baptized rather than circumcised.  But the good news is neither are cnecessary for salvation! 
 
 
They were requiring something in addition to salvation by grace through faith, and in this case, it was circumcision, which was an Old Testament law requirement. And they were falling for it!  I will say that does speak to their commitment to their faith, if nothing else!
 
Some of you may remember my friend John Ogden.  He was pastor at Marsden for a while and has since gone home to heaven.  He was saved while a student at SWOSU in Weatherford.  He knew nothing about church. 
 
Someone led him to the Lord at his apartment and told him he needed to be baptized.  He went to the First Baptist Church, came to the front on the first verse of the invitational hymn and presented himself for baptism believing you had to baptized naked! 
 
That must have been similar to what it was like for these guys to want to be saved and then told what the requirements were! 
 
So in response to that, Paul responds by offering this defense of the life of Christian liberty that includes three warnings.  First of all, he says, if you decide that you are going to go the way of the law, it will   
 
-     isolate you
 
Notice in verse 2, he says, “Christ will profit you nothing.” In other words, your attempts to keep the law will isolate you from Christ.
 
What does he mean by that?  He is saying, “There are only two possible approaches to salvation, and only one of them works. 
 
There is salvation by grace through Jesus Christ and there is salvation by works through trying to keep the law.  There is only those two roads and you can't take them both. They are mutually exclusive.
 
If a person decides they are going to take the
law road, then they have separated themselves from Christ, and therefore, will profit them nothing. It's all
Jesus or no Jesus. Jesus is ALL Savior or He is NO
Savior.
 
Second, if you go the law route, it will not only isolate you from Christ, it will
 
-     obligate you to the Law
  
Look at verse 3
 
In other words, you can’t pick and choose which parts of the Law you are going to observe. It doesn't work that way.  If you decide to be obligated to part of the law, then you are obligated to all of the Law. Just as with Jesus, it is either all of the Law or none of the Law. 
 
So choosing the Law means you are isolated from Christ, you are obligated to the Law, and third, it will
 
-     devastate you
 
 
verse 4
 
“You have become estranged from Christ”.  Some translations says, “Christ is become of no effect to you.
In other words, He is inoperative in your life. You have cut yourself off from the only source of power that will enable you to live the Christian life.
 
Then he makes that unbelievable statement: "You have fallen from grace." 
 
People use that statement to teach that you can be saved and lost again. I just imagine that a whole lot of you have had people ask you: “Do you Baptists believe once saved, always saved?”  You have probably had folks say to you, “I believe you can fall from grace."  The Bible says you can fall from grace; and they will point you to this verse.”
 
If there is anything I understand about the Bible it is that the salvation which God gives us in the Lord
Jesus Christ is eternal. When God saves us, He does an eternal, irrevocable work!
 
And yet, this statement says you are fallen from grace. What does that mean if it doesn’t mean we lose our salvation? 
 
A literal interpretation is, “you are fallen down from
grace”. Here’s what he means: If you are going to be saved by the grace of God, but decide to live the Christian life by keeping the law and going by a set of rules, you have moved down to a lower level of living.
 
You are no longer living up on the level of grace which is the life of liberty. You have taken a position lower than what grace affords and provides.  You are living down on the lower level of trying to go by rules and regulations and ceremonies and all of that.
 
 
Listen:  You may fall from grace, but you can't fall out of grace.. 
 
Take for example, Noah in the ark. The Bible says God sent Noah and his family and the animals inside the ark and He shut the door.  By the way, that Ark was covered with pitch on the inside and out.  The word for that pitch interprets as “atonement”. 
 
So Noah and the others and sealed inside the finished work of the atonement by God Himself.  Eventually the rains came and the fountains of the deep broke loose and the entire earth was flooded. 

Can you imagine what that was like?  Do you suppose that old boat got to rocking and rolling out there on the waves?  I think it possible that Noah, from time
to time, may have fallen in the ark. But he never fell
OUT of the ark.
 
In fact, I can build you a from the Bible that declares to you that when we as believers sin, though we don't want to sin, we don't fall out of grace. We fall into grace.
 
Look at David. He didn't fall out of grace. He fell into grace and asked for God's mercy. God restored him and brought him back.
 
What about Simon Peter? He denied that he even knew the Lord, but he didn't fall out of grace. He fell into grace.

Did you know we do not have a single Biblical example of anyone ever falling from grace? 
 
 
Why in the world would Paul, who understood and taught about the security of the believer, here reverse course and declare that Christians can fall from grace, especially when that statement would have nothing to do with what he is teaching? 
 
He’s not saying that you can lose your salvation, but that you can live below the provisions of your salvation. You can go to a lower level of life. God wants you to live on the high level of Christian liberty. The Christian life is defined. The
Christian life is defended. The Christian life is--
 
3. Description
 
verses 5-6
 
Basically he is saying that the life of liberty is life
lived by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. And to make sure he is understood, he begins by introducing the Holy Spirit in
 
verse 5
 
Perhaps the reason the life of liberty is not as well understood as it should be is because the Holy Spirit is not as well understood as He should be. 
 
It is so important for believers to understand that when you receive Christ as your personal Savior He comes into your life in the person of the Holy Spirit. In fact, it is right to say that God Himself comes to live in us through the person of the Holy Spirit. 
 
Among other things, that means there is a power available to us to live as we are supposed to live. 
 
Once He introduces the Spirit and the power that affords to live life, he then breaks it down to show us how that life is lived.
 
And he does it through the use of three words that are basic to the Christian life. 
 
Notice, first of all, right at the end of the 5th verse, the word “faith”.  Then, in the middle of verse 5, see the word “hope”. And finally, at the end of verse
6 you’ll find the word “love” . Those three words, faith, hope and love, explain what the Christian life is all about.
 
The word, faith, is the inward dimension of the Christian life. Faith is the switch which appropriates the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It's like the ignition switch on your car.
 
No matter how big the engine or how much horsepower it produces, none of the power it is capable of is available unless and until the switch is turned on. 
 
Faith is the switch which turns on the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. That means every day of your life, by faith you can claim God's power to live. By the way, that's how you live for the Lord--by faith. You are saved by faith; you live the Christian life by faith, appropriating what God provides for you.
 
The second word is hope. That's the upward dimension of the Christian life. What does verse 5 says? “we wait for the hope of righteousness”. The word, wait, there is the same word that is used in passages that have to do with the return of the Lord Jesus.
 
The hope of righteousness is the return of Christ when He will take us to live with Him in heaven.  That's the future, upward dimension of the Christian life.
 
Then we see the third word which is “love” in verse 6.  That's the outward dimension of the Christian life of liberty. And there is where he says that it's not anything to do with circumcision, but faith working through love.”
 
That means the life of Christian liberty is lived on the basis of love.  That makes sense because love is a higher, more noble motivation than law.
 
Let me explain.  Here's a guy who lives a sexually promiscuous life.  He sleeps around, using women to satisfy his own desires, with no real sense of love for anyone.
 
Then one day there comes into his life a beautiful young lady. He falls in love with her and proposes marriage to her and they are married. He loves her.
 
Let me ask you a question. If he really loves his wife, he would never dream of breaking, not only his marriage vows, but his wife’s heart by sleeping around like he used to. 
 
Why? It’s sure not because the law says not too.  It’s not even because he has a high moral code he lives by.  He’s already proven he doesn’t.  If he stops sleeping around it will be because his love for his wife no governs and controls his behavior. She has become one with him and lives in his heart.  
 
The same is true with the Christian life.  Every so often I hear some idiot say, “Well if I believed in that once saved, always saved stuff, then I’d just go live any way I want to.”  And at the same time you’d prove just how sorry you really are and how far your heart is from God. 
 
In the same way I am true to my wife and my marriage vows because I love her, I will be true to my Christian commitment and my Lord. I have God’s Holy Spirit living in my heart and because of that, I have the power to live as I should live. 
 
Furthermore, I love the Lord with all my heart and I am looking forward to the to the day when I will be with my Savior. 
 
And because I love Him, out of love for Him, I choose to live a life of Christian life.  I dare not live as I please, not because I’m bound by a set of
rules that I must go by, but simply on the basis of love.
 
I just can’t do and don’t do certain things because I love the Lord, and even more importantly, He loves me. I do other things because I love Him and He loves me.
 
And once you grasp that, the Christian life takes on a total different atmosphere as you begin to live now a free life. You are free to love Jesus and free to love others the way Jesus loves others. 
 
And in that regard, we dare not fall from grace!
 
Let's bow our heads.
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