by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 3 February 17, 2013 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(239)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.
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".