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What we Believe







"Fallen From Grace"

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:1-4).

These are stern words from the heart of the apostle. These words reveal Paul's devotion to the truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Salvation is by Christ alone and not by the works of the law. Many do not seem to understand the gravity of this truth. They confound the truth of God in Christ by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, placing Christ among a list of various necessities for salvation.

Every believer is to stand fast in the liberating grace of Christ the Lord, with which grace Christ has freed us from the bondage of working for justification before God by the deeds of the flesh. To "Stand fast" and "be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" are commands expressed in honor of the truth of God's grace in Christ (Gal. 5:1,2). Any attempt at justification before God by even one deed of the law indebts one to the law as a whole (Gal. 5:3). Paul's "For I testify again" leads us back to a previous statement. "For as many as are under the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that CONTINUETH NOT IN ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW TO DO THEM" (Gal. 3:10). The law never justifies any man before God (Gal. 3:11). The giving of the law was never "another way" but it reveals the absolute necessity of Christ and the gift of faith (Gal. 3:15-29).

To seek justification before God by obedience to even one command given in the law, by the nature of the commandments themselves, is to confine one's self liable to obey every command in the law. Those in such a position are under the curse for not keeping even one of the hundreds of commands given in the law. There are far more than "the ten commandments" people are fond of mentioning. Justification by the law demands that all be kept perfectly to escape the curse, and there is not one person who can escape that legal curse by deeds (Rom. 3:9-20).

In Galations 5:4 the apostle is not comparing the best way to an alternative way of justification before God. When Paul says: "... whosoever of you are justified by the law;" he is not indicating some have chosen the more difficult way of justification. To adopt a doctrine of justification by the deeds of the law is not an alternative way but it is to repudiate Christ and fall from grace. Whether realizing it or not this is to say that Christ is of no profit. It is to say that He is worthless in the area of justification before God (Gal. 5:2). It is complete inconsistancy for a person to be trying to save themselves while professing to trust Christ wholly for salvation.

Among religious societies in our day falling from grace has been given a totally different meaning than is expressed by Paul. It is interpreted as a believer leaving the service of Christ and practicing a sinful life of earthly pleasures and lusts. It is even taught by some as one losing his salvation. These have nothing to do with what Paul calls falling from grace. Is circumcision a sinful practice? Is tithing a sinful practice? They are when done for merit before God! How many do we hear demanding of our giving of the tithe to gain the blessing of God? Many! This is what Paul rebukes here. God's blessing of the elect flows freely by grace through the person and work of Christ (Rom. 8:32-34). In Christ Jesus neither tithing or not tithing availeth anything; but faith which is energized by love (Gal. 5:6). If you tithe for God's blessing you must be circumcised for His blessing, and so on (Gal. 5:3).

Sadly, thousands of people in practicing the deeds of their own hands have not fallen from grace. Does it amaze you I said that? One cannot fall from where they have never been. Many are devoid of grace altogether. Their legalism is not a having fallen from grace but a being steeped in works from the beginning. Others may know of the true doctrines of grace (election, predestination, redemption, regeneration, conversion) but they have never experienced them as a reality in their lives. These may fall from an outward profession of faith but they are devoid of the gift of faith in Christ the Lord. Some have been brought by grace to know the Christ of God, but through craftfully deceptive teachers they are bewitched into religious conduct, though not necessarily immoral conduct, which is contrary to grace (Gal. 3:1-5; 5:7,8). These are the only ones who have fallen from grace, but they have not fallen out of grace for the Lord Himself will act in gracious faithfulness toward them (Gal. 5:10).

Falling from grace is real and not just a hypothetical theory we are warned of to keep us from falling (Gal. 5:7), but falling from grace is not being saved and then lost again. Some may suggest that if this is true then falling from grace makes no real difference and is not important. However, my being saved is not the only important thing. What about the honoring of the truth of Christ? What about the effect such falling produces in the assembly as a whole? This is important (Gal. 5:7-9). Is being taken advantage of by a con man unimportant so long as he gets my money and does not take my life? The con's goal is not my life itself but my goods. The religious con's goal is not to take my salvation but his own personal glory in my obedience to his words while rejecting the truth of Christ (Gal. 6:12). Falling from grace is to be taken advantage of by a con man. A believer may be conned of his grasp of the truth, but he cannot be seperated from God's grasp on him (Jn. 10:28,29). Once those conned are revealed their situation by the Lord they are given a mind to escape the trap. Mere religious professors, however, have not only been conned but they become knowing, willing participants in the con.

The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is not our own inability to be conned but the Lord will not allow the con to continue indefinitely. Why would the sovereign of the universe even allow such a thing to happen in the first place? While we cannot search and discover all of the sovereign Lord's mind and purpose He has revealed some things in His word. For the hypocrite it is God's justice in giving men what they want and deserve (Rom. 1:18-25; II Thess. 2:10-12). For the people of God it reveals our own weakness and the susceptibility of our being conned and falling (cf. I Cor. 10:12). The very reality that we can be conned and fall demands that we seek the truth continually and faithfully (Eph. 4:11-16).

For a believer to seek to live under the demands of the law rather than under the lead and liberty of the grace of Christ is like a prisoner of war being released from his captors but desiring to return to the cage in which he was held. His being freed is no license to live to the dishonor of his liberators but rather to live in defense of them and that which they represent. So it is with every believer in Christ. He is not liberated for self service (Gal. 5:13,26), nor is he liberated to self praise (Gal. 6:14-16). May God in His grace enable us to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage!

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