You Who Have Fallen From Grace

Richard Thetford

Can an individual fall from grace? There are some who would say no. Many feel that once one is “saved,” they are always saved. This would be really great if it were true, but that is not what the Bible teaches. In Galatians 5:4, the apostle Paul told the Galatian brethren: “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Now if it were not possible to fall from grace, why would Paul say “you have fallen from grace?” He said that because it is a fact - one CAN fall from God’s grace. It is possible to fall into apostasy (fall away) from the word of God. And you know what, this is nothing new. Long ago, before Christ was even born into this world, Ezekiel addressed the problem of apostasy. Notice: “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies” (Ezek 18:24-26). A righteous individual, based upon his own initiative, can and sometimes does decide not to follow the ways of Christ any longer. It is not God’s fault this happens, it is man’s fault! We are totally responsible for our actions, good or bad!

We Can “Wander From The Truth”

In the book of James 5:19-20, we can read where one can be turned back to serving the Lord. It says: “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” One can only be turned back, because they wandered in the first place. No doubt you know of or have heard of one that has stopped serving the Lord and slid back into the ways of the world. We often call this type of person a “backslider.” A backslider is one that begins to wander from the truth, or falls from God’s grace because they have decided to stop serving the Lord the way that they know that they should.

There are Bible examples of men that have fallen from God’s grace. In 1 Timothy 1:18-20 Paul tells Timothy about two of these individuals. He writes: “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Two individuals, Hymenaeus and Alexander obviously deserted the faith of our Lord and Paul describes this type of action as “suffering shipwreck.” Our ship (body) will be eternally shipwrecked if we do those things that are contrary to God’s will. God’s grace is upon us if we obey, but God’s grace will no longer be upon us when we choose to disobey.

“Some Will Depart From The Faith”

The Bible is very clear in letting us know “that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Tim 4:1). A hypocrite is one that has departed from the faith of our Lord. Jesus said: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt 12:30). We can’t have it both ways (Matt 6:24), we’re either keeping the faith or we’re departing from the faith. We’re either in God’s grace or we’ve departed from God’s grace. The Hebrew writer said: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Heb 2:12).

God Offered His Grace - We Must Choose To Accept It

God loved us so much that He gave us His only Son (John 3:16). He offered us His grace in His Son Jesus. His grace is here if we choose to accept it. Otherwise we will lose our soul if we refuse His grace. Some have accepted His grace by believing in Jesus and being baptized for remission of sins, but then later rejected His grace. I am reminded of Paul’s writing to the Romans when he said: “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom 11:22). We are promised goodness, and that goodness consists of eternal life with our Lord IF as he wrote “we continue in His goodness.” Don’t let anyone try and tell you that you can’t fall from God’s grace because it simply is not so. We can only be saved when we do all of His will and are faithful in doing His will unto death (Matt 7:21; Rev 2:10). Be careful, because man CAN fall from the grace of God!