Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3
Thesis: "Falling from grace" does not "imply" being "in" grace.
Introduction: This evening we have come to a text that has been significantly misunderstood by large groups of people: Galatians 5:4. In this verse Paul says a certain type of person "has fallen from grace". With an almost total disregard of the preceding phrase, many have jumped to the conclusion that a saved person can lose his/her salvation. This evening we want to consider what Paul wanted the Galatians to clearly understand.
February 17, 2013
- I. What Is At Stake.
- A. The application of the "benefit" of Christ.
- 1. The word is used in contexts where an improvement in the quality of one's experience is in view.
- 2. The particular "improvement" in our text/context is everything that is involved in being accepted by God as a "son".
- 3. Therefore, the "benefit of Christ" boils down to the result of actions taken by Him to put us in a position to be accepted by God as sons.
- a. In Galatians, the actions taken by Christ revolve around 3:1.
- 1) The action in this verse is "crucifixion".
- 2) The application of this action has to do with the resolution of the conflict between Justice and Grace by means of a "substitute", a new "Adam".
- b. In distinction, the "benefit of the Spirit" revolves around 3:2-3.
- 1) The action of "the Spirit" is clearly identified as "being made perfect".
- 2) The application of this action has to do with the maturation of the adult son so that his participation in the inheritance can be increased.
- 4. Thus, we conclude that the "benefit" of Christ is "justification" and our consequent "freedom" from the wrath of God, typically generated by His Justice in reaction to sin.
- B. The quality of a "life" that is overwhelmingly burdened by demands that simply cannot be met.
- 1. Paul's terms are an "again" declaration of obligation to fulfill every requirement of "Law".
- a. The "again" is rooted in 3:10-12 in its context.
- b. The repetition indicates a common human tendency to "blow off" things with which we do not wish to deal.
- 2. This is no small matter: life under impossible demands is an increasingly degenerative emotional disaster.
- C. The separation of the "life" from "grace".
- II. The Identity of Those in Danger.
- A. Paul's words are not ambiguous: "whosoever of you are justified by the law".
- B. There are two major issues involved.
- 1. The doctrinal debate about whether a saved person can lose his/her salvation is resolved at least to this degree: Paul was not addressing the question of people not living up to a certain standard that would keep them from such loss; he is, rather, addressing people who consider themselves as capable of living up to such a standard (you are actually better off being a murderous adulterer than a zealously religious legalist).
- 2. The question of the degree to which the "crucifixion of the Christ" is applicable to any person.
- a. Is the bottom line our behavior, or His?
- b. If the bottom line is someone's "behavior", the question, then, is the method of becoming acceptable to God.
- III. The Final Result.
- A. Paul calls it "having fallen from grace".
- B. What he means, though, is that a person has been brought face to face with the issue of methodology and has rejected "grace".