So Who Did Fall From Grace?

SO WHO DID FALL FROM GRACE?

Galatians 5:1-8

By Charles Blair 

Yes, there is a Bible way to fall from grace, and some have evidently taken it.  What is it, and who fell?

Satan didn’t fall from grace.  Yes, he fell, from his glorious status as “the anointed cherub who covers” (Ezekiel 28:14).  One of three named angels (Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer), he was perfect in beauty and in conduct until iniquity was found in him (Ezk. 28:12, 15).  Yes, he fell, but not from grace, for Jesus did not take on Himself the nature of angels (Hebrews 2:16), no grace or salvation for Satan and his (fallen) angels, now the demons.  Satan did not fall from grace; he fell from glory!

Adam and Eve did not fall from grace, though they fell.  Their status before sin was innocence, not knowing good and evil, that is, not accountable, for “sin is not imputed where there is no law,” Romans 5:13b.  As the unaccountable infant is safe because of the universal scope of Christ’s death and the lack of any personal responsibility, so our first parents were safe until the entrance of sin, “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  (Romans 3:20)  “But they were cast out of the garden!  Didn’t they fall?”  They certainly did—not “from grace” but “into grace!”  For God promptly took the lives, and hides, of innocent animals to provide a picture of redemption, pointing forward to the shed blood of Christ and the covering of imputed grace righteousness rather than the “fig leaf” self-righteousness they had done for themselves.

The pre-flood world did not fall from grace when God sent the universal flood in Noah’s day. He (and his family) “found grace in the eyes of the LORD,” Genesis 6:8.  But those who rejected God’s word spoken through His prophet were surely never in grace, but condemned by immorality to judgment.  The infants and unaccountable among them were safe in eternal terms, but none were “saved by water;” those who were in the ark before they went into the water were saved, brought through the judgment storm and delivered to the other side by the gracious provision of God.  But those who got in the water but not in the ark—well, that’s another story!  They fell from works into judgment.

Lot did not fall from grace.  When the angels brought him out of Sodom, he acknowledged (Gen. 19:19): “thy servant hath found grace in  thy sight.”  He fell from prosperity, and was reduced to being a “cave man,” whose daughters had adopted the moral standards of Sodom, but Peter explains how this physical deliverance explains the spiritual truth. In II Peter 2:4-9, the Holy Spirit calls Lot—Lot!—“just,” and “righteous,” and “godly.”  These are hardly the terms we would choose, but Peter explains; he “vexed his righteous soul” –that part of him committed to faith in uncle Abraham’s Messiah—with the ungodly deeds of the wicked.  He fell from wealth, but not from grace.

Well, then, just who did “fall from grace?”  Sometimes (usually!) it helps to look at the context. “Even a diamond is more beautiful in its proper setting.”   To tear a few words from a passage of Scripture and wave them as proof of an expanded theory may result in “theory-ology.”

What is the context of Gal. 5:6?  A group of heretics had infested the Galatian Association, at least four churches named in Acts Chapters 13 and 14, teaching that Paul’s word of grace was fine so far as it went, but not enough!  They wanted to add circumcision and law-keeping, evidently including animal sacrifice, making salvation a matter of “grace + law” rather than “the gospel of grace.”  Reading the immediate setting, 5:1-10, will tell us who “fell [away] from [the] grace principle:” those Judiazers who sought to add works to grace as the basis of right standing before God.  Who today is “fallen from grace”?  Those who seek to add baptism, communion, living a good life, indeed anything human, to the eternal, absolute principle of grace as the only basis for salvation.   Good works are a natural expression of grace, but salvation is “not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

R. Charles Blair, August, 2017

Pastor, Poplar Grove Baptist Church, Hickman, KY

Director of Missions, West Kentucky Baptist Association

Former Dean, Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College, Mayfield, KY

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John 3:5 – Born of Water & Spirit

The Master is here setting forth to a religious teacher of His day, who knew nothing about it, the conditions of the new birth. The new birth is one birth of two elements – the water and the Spirit. The water is a type of the Word, both in the Old Testament and the New. The Old Testament was Nicodemus’ Bible, as the New Testament had not been written then. Psalm 51, Ezekiel 36:25, 37:1-14, Isaiah 4:4, and other Old Testament passages make exceeding clear and plain that in salvation men are cleansed by the Word and renewed by the Holy Spirit. John 15:2, Ephesians 5:26, 1 Peter 1:22 also make it very clear that water is used as type of the Word.

 
What the Master said to Nicodemus was that except he be born of the Word and the Sprit, he could neither see nor enter the kingdom of God. To further clinch that argument, He said to Nicodemus, “Art thou a teacher in Israel and understandest not these things?” That question would have meant nothing to Nicodemus, unless “these things” had been things taught in the Old Testament Scriptures. If they referred to things taught in the Old Testament, then there could not possibly have been any reference to baptism, for that began with John the Baptist. There must have been a reference to what a teacher of the Old Testament ought to have understand. In the passages cited above from the Old Testament, Nicodemus ought to have known about the new birth and that it was a spiritual birth of the Word and of the Spirit. – H. Boyce Taylor (1870-1932), Pastor of First Baptist Church, Murray, KY

When J.R. Graves Came To Hopkinsville

“Will you give me the space to tell of the visit of Dr. Graves to the church at this place? He came by invitation from the pastor and deacons, arriving here on the morning of March thirteenth. Being met by Prof. J.W. Rust and Deacon W.L. Trice, and conducted to the hospitable home of the latter, by whom he was entertained during his stay. Every day his room at Deacon Trice’s was frequented by old friends and new ones, who desired to converse with and shake the hand of “the old man eloquent.” There has seldom been experienced an occasion of  sweeter communion among Christians, and Deacon Trice was one of the happiest. The conversations were mostly confined to great doctrines of grace and our visitor would talk most affectionately about the Savior. After the evening service Dr. Graves would be surrounded by his friends for a few minutes of conservation. Some of these had known him in years gone by, when in strength and vigor he was the peer of any man in the Southern pulpit. Some bore the affection inherited from departed parents, some were drawn to him by the “sweet magnetism” of his discourses, but they all came gladly to express a warm regard for the old man who was so nobly giving his declining years to the Master’s service.

Dr. Graves began his Chair Talks on Salvation, Sunday morning. His theme was, The Glory and Greatness of Salvation. There were not many dry eyes in the house when he closed. Sunday night the talk was on, Heaven, Where is it? Monday night, How to get this Great Salvation. Tuesday night, Can we Know That we Are Saved? Wednesday night, Can we Forfeit or Lose It? There was so much sweetness and kindness and spirituality in his discourse that the large congregation were drawn to him with almost fatherly affection, and the argument was so persuasive, so clear and convincing, that it needed no vindication after being heard. At the close of the talk Wednesday night, Pastor J.N. Prestridge expressed to Dr. Graves in warm words the gratitude of the church and community, referring impressively to the great work he had accomplished during his life. Prof. Rust then suggested that the parting hand be extended, and, while singing, “Blest be the tie that binds,” the audience came forward without respect to denominational line to bid Dr. Graves an affectionate farewell. Such a service as this is rarely seen, so genuine, so affectionate, so spiritual.
Dr. Graves made a grand impression on our community. Those who knew him before are rejoiced to have renewed their friendship; those who met him for the first time love him with a love that only such a meeting can engender. We all to a man say God bless him and his forever.

Respectively, J.O. Rust, Hopkinsville, Ky., April 6, 1888″

– Taken From “The Baptist” newspaper, April 14, 1888, page 3.

When I Was 17 – The Testimony of Charles Cloyd

I was born in Crittenden County, Kentucky in 1921. My parents were church goers. When I was about 11 years old while attending a two week protracted meeting at a country church, I came under some emotional distress. I felt that I was lost but my consciousness of sin was not very great. I cannot remember being told anything about Christ dying for sin and particularly my sins. I made a public profession, but I did not know anything about being saved. I just went forward in the church. I never joined the church. I think that my childish emotions were stirred by some very well told stories.

Some years later my family attended a different church were the preaching was very strong and people were being saved. I heard the gospel and realized that I could not ever be good enough to be saved on my own. I remember realizing at age 15 that I was lost. I was rather sad hearing those sermons but I was not moved to fully trust in Christ. I loved the world and had plans to more fully enjoy it. I was not ready to turn from my love for the world and come under the Lordship of Christ. The protracted meetings continued in our church in December of 1938, right on through Christmas.

In late spring of 1938 I came under deep conviction of sin. I knew I was lost and I agreed with God that if I died in that state I would be forever lost. I remember crying out “Lord remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom” (Luke 23:41). On August 28, 1938 I said in my heart that I could hold out no longer and I went forward in the church. I trusted in Christ and was saved while the church was singing “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, Oh Lamb of God I come.” The pastor asked, “What is your hope?” “Jesus Christ is my only hope,” I replied. That was the first time I could ever really pronounce or confess His name. That night I had peace, the peace that passes understanding.

I have presented my own experience of eternal life. Let me now speak of that which everyone must face. Billy Graham preaches that you “Must be born again.” President Carter also emphasized this precious truth. This supreme requirement is stated by our Lord Jesus Christ in John 3:7, “Ye must be born again.” Jesus went on to say in John 3:14-15, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the Son of man be lifted up that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

And so my friend I am authorized to invite you to be born again through faith in Jesus Christ. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a great Baptist preacher of the nineteenth century, was so convicted on God’s gracious disposition to saved sinners he request that a challenge be written across his tomb which reads, “Meet me in heaven.” My prayer is that you will.” Charles Cloyd

(Dr. Charles E. Cloyd {1921-2010} was a long time professor of Old Testament and History at Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College in Mayfield, Kentucky. He had a great influence of many of the pastors in western Kentucky. The above testimony is from a gospel tract he published in August, 1993.)