Fallen From Grace – Galatians 5:2-6

Fallen From Grace


Ø      The theme of Galatians 5 is that Christianity is freedom, not bondage. It’s not freedom to do evil; it’s freedom to do good by internal divine power, not external restraints. Paul makes his appeal in verse 1, and supports it in verses 2 to 12 by attacking the false doctrine of the Judaizers (vv. 2-6), and then the Judaizers themselves (vv. 7-12).

Ø      First (vv. 2-6) he discusses the nature of the false doctrine.

§   They believed the Gentiles had to follow a minor ritual (circumcision) to obtain grace (salvation)

·        “Messing” with the doctrine of salvation affects many other areas of Christian living

·        It is foundational

·        Even though writing to Christians, must start where the error starts, and make application to the Christian life.

§   This teaching represented a system of works – human achievement

·        Christ’s work is insufficient

·        Moses started, Christ continued, up to you to finish

§   There are four results to this:

Interpretation & Explanation

Ø      Verse 2 – Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

§   “Paul” – reminds of apostolic authority

o       You Are Not Profited by Christ (v. 2)

§   The dilemma

·        vv. 2-4 are hypothetical, “If”

o       They were following days, etc., had not yet gotten circumcised

·        Circumcision or Christ, not both

·        Christ entirely or not at all

§   The danger

·        That they would yield and follow circumcision

·        Adding works to grace – Romans 11:6

·        As far as justification, faith and works do not go together

·        Christ’s provision of salvation can’t be worth anything if you don’t fully trust Him

·        Jewish people had a problem with legalism (Romans 9:30-32) – no true righteousness because they were seeking self-righteousness

§   You ignore Christ’s gracious work, if you trust in any self-work

Ø      Verse 3 – For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

§   “who is circumcised” – let himself be…, gives in to this teaching

§   “testify” – strong protest

§   “again” – restatement, either vs. 2 or previous

o       You Are Required to Keep the Whole Law (v. 3)

§   Stated

·        Refusing to accept God’s grace requires keeping the entire law

·        That’s impossible

§   Supported

·        James 2:10

·        Galatians 3:10

Ø      Verse 4 – Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

o       You Are Fallen from Grace (v. 4)

§   The principle analyzed

·        Does this complicate the doctrine of eternal security

o       Not related to security

o       It is contrasting law and grace

§         If you are going to put yourself under the law, Christ can be of no help to you

§         You are fallen from living by faith/grace

§   The principle applied – here Paul is not making particular application, but…

·        To apostates – someone understands what Christ has done, yet depends on works is lost

·        To Christians – can a Christian fall from grace?

o       Yes, in a sense…

§         Saved by grace, are to live by grace

§         God’s free favor on our behalf

§         God’s blessing comes when we yield to the Spirit

§         When we operate in the flesh, we’ve fallen from grace

o       A person can be saved and not grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18)

§         If we are told to do something that implies that not all Christians will

§         Refusing the grace of sanctification does not forfeit the grace of justification

§         Process of sanctification can be retarded by living in the flesh (and striving in the flesh)

Ø      For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

o       You Are Excluded from Righteousness
(vv. 5-6, Romans 9:30-32)

§   The expectation of the future (v. 5) “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”

·        The promise of glorification

o       Contrast with those that work for their own righteousness now

o       Although we are counted righteous, there’s an aspect that we wait for

o       1 John 3:2; Romans 8:19, 21

·        The Proof of Grace

o       “Spirit” – righteousness by law is fleshly, not from the Spirit

o       “Wait” – not work, but wait

o       “Faith” – faith, not works

§   The effectiveness of faith (v. 6)

·        The external shortcoming (v. 6a)

o       The ritual means nothing, done it or not, it “availeth nothing”

o       Only grace and faith matter

o       Corinthians – 1 Corinthians 8:8

·        The internal solution (v. 6b)

o       Explained

§         A faith that works

§         Not a work that gains

§         We work because of love, not because of “necessity”

o       Exemplified – love motivates internally rather than just prohibiting the external – Jesus’ Sermon on Mount

§         Kill

§         Steal

§         Lie

o       Expressed

§         Galatians 5:14 – a person who loves his neighbor will not covet his things, etc.

§         Romans 13:8-9 – love is the fulfilling of the law

§         Romans 8:4 – fulfill law by walking after Spirit, not following rules, laws, externals


o       Living by legalism (externals) results in

§   Christ profiting nothing

§   Obligation to the WHOLE law

§   Falling from grace

§   Exclusion from righteousness

o       All the work that a man can do will stay here on this earth. None of it carries any weight in heaven. Only grace and faith are effective there.

§   Entrance to heaven must be by grace through faith

§   Rewards in heaven must be by grace through faith