What Happens When we Fall from Grace?

How do we cut ourselves off from Christ? (Galatians 5:4)

Humpty has a great fall

I am so glad the book of Galatians is in the Bible because we can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes.

The Galatians lost their liberty in Christ by allowing themselves to be enslaved to the yoke of the law.

In their case the issue was circumcision, but for us it could be anything that puts a price tag on grace—church rules, confession of sins, the spiritual disciplines, whatever. I’m not against these things. I’m saying there is nothing we can do to add or improve upon Christ’s perfect work.

We stand by grace alone.

What does it mean to fall from grace?

To fall from grace is to stop trusting in grace. Some guys with long faces and long knives came preaching mixture and the Galatians bought it hook, line, and sinker.

They were no longer continuing in the grace of God. They were no longer continuing in the faith.

But did this mean the Galatians were now unsaved, under condemnation, and hell-bound?


Falling from grace does not mean falling out of the kingdom.

You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The NIV Bible says the Galatians alienated themselves from Christ. Other translations say they became estranged, separated, severed, and cut off. These are serious words with serious implications, but they do not imply condemnation.

Who cut them off? It wasn’t Christ.

Who did the separating? Not Jesus.

As always, he remains the faithful husband who keeps us safe while promising that no one, not even ourselves in a moment of stupidity, can snatch us out of his hands.

Paul never tells the Galatians, “You are losing your salvation.” Instead, he says, “You are indulging the flesh” (Gal. 5:13).

The Galatians were becoming carnal, biting and devouring one another in vicious arguments. The danger was not that God would destroy them, but that “you will be destroyed by each other” (Gal. 5:15).

What are the dangers of falling from grace?

Remove grace from any community and you will soon have quarrels, strife, bickering, manipulation, envy, hatred, and all the other works of the flesh that Paul lists in Galatians 5:19–21. But none of these things will send you to hell.

When Paul reminds the Galatians that “they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom,” he’s saying, “Those who belong to Christ shouldn’t act like those who don’t.”

The righteous may fall seven times, but they remain righteous. We who drift can, with the aid of the Spirit, come back on course.

If you have fallen from grace into dead works, the remedy is to remember your First Love (hint: it’s Jesus) and do what you did at first.

If Christians were kicked out of the kingdom every time they walked after the flesh, heaven would be empty.


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64 Comments on What Happens When we Fall from Grace?

  1. Yes, I really like that!
    Yes, it’s been so easy once, in years past of our humpty-dumpty days to forget Christ perfect work in us and try to add to ourselves by our “good workings” and “circumcisions”.
    Yes, we stand by grace alone!

  2. It’s an unspeakable joy to know I am saved by God’s wondrous grace alone and that regardless of my foolish, fickle heart nothing will change that. It’s grace from first to last. And yet in this week sermon, Pastor Joseph Prince whom you have praised in this blog, clearly stated that the predestination of the elect applies to those God “foreknew” would decide to follow Christ. That makes salvation man’s choice, not grace. 

    • And yet you can not make a choice to receive a gift until the gift (grace) is offered
      Its the Grace train from start to finish, its man choice to board the train or not.
      Without the train, you may decide you want to go, but you have no way to get there.

      • john battah // November 12, 2014 at 7:58 am //

        if a man boards the train it is all of grace not human decision and if he refuses to board it is all his responsibility

    • God foreknew who would accept his gift of righteousness. Salvation IS mans choice! We can choose to accept or reject the gift of Grace. Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us that their are two choices we can make. Life or Death. Then we are given the advice to choose life. God doesn’t send people to the lake of fire for the death of our souls. We choose to go their when we choose death. He gives us free will and then the choice. Jesus died once for all.
      Gods gift of Grace is offered to all.
      It is absolutely our choice weather or not to accept it.
      FYI,Grace and Salvation are the same thing.

      • I realize this is very old, but that’s not how predestination works. God elected, before the beginning of time, who would be saved. Acts 13:48 sums this up perfectly, as well as many other passages. The other big thing that makes your understanding of this impossible is that we were dead in our transgressions. A dead person can’t choose to respond to anything. Regeneration precedes faith. It has to, because like I said, we were dead in our transgressions.

      • That’s not what predestination means. Predestined means predetermined. It does not mean that God chooses some and rejects others. It means God had a plan. The original word in Eph 1:5 (proorizō) is made up of two words: pro, meaning fore, and horizo, meaning horizon or boundary. The God who sees the end from the beginning knows exactly who will respond to the gospel. Source.

  3. thanks, spooky,how someone out there tells you I need some encouragement

    • Roshan Easo // March 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm // Reply

      Yes. Spooky! Definitely spooky! 😉 I like the reader’s comments as well. It’s not just Paul anymore, it’s the whole gang! 😀

  4. While it may be true that one’s eternal destiny is not effected by mixing grace with self imposed performance orientation or any other addition to Jesus plus nothing equals everything-. While this may be true the fact remains that ” the basic principles of the world” that one finds themselves in bondage to when we do this are not very nice to say the least. They are are literally “Stoichia” – the “elementary sprits of the world”. These Satanic task masters will bring such defeat, bondage to sin, obsessive compulsive behaviour, emotional disorders of every kind, mental torment, psychological torment and broken interpersonal relationships that you will feel like you are in Hades. ( Ask me how I know this.)These elementary spirits of the world are God’s “tutors” and “guardians” to drive us back from the forbidden territory of believing the lie that we can secure or maintain the favor and blessings of God by anything other than the grace of Christ alone.

  5. And having said that- you do not want to be the one who is bringing the teaching that insists that one must add to the grace of Christ alone in order to secure or maintain salvation (which includes every divine blessing not merely eternal security-reconciliation, forgiveness, blessings, favor, protection, provision, divine presence, spiritual gifts, miracles etc).
    Here’s why you don’t want to be that person:
    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8, 9 NASB)
    I believe the word is “anathema”! I’ll let you do the entomology of that word and decide what it means. There’s only one thing worse than living in bondage to the elemental spirits of the world- that’s being anathema.

  6. When Paul reminds the Galatians that “they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom,” he’s saying, “Those who belong to Christ shouldn’t act like those who don’t.”

    Have serious doubt’s “shall not inherit” is the same as shouldn’t act like that. When you inherit something you receive it, when you don’t inherit something you don’t receive it. Sounds more like they shall not receive the kingdom. It is has gotten to the point that some say even molester are saved as long as they trust Jesus for their righteousness.

    • I guess my question here is this; is inheriting the kingdom going to heaven or is it ruling and reigning today in the abundance of Christ? The meek shall inherit the earth, not heaven. The kingdom is the kings dominion; that is what we are inheriting. Eternal life starts today.

  7. Amen! 🙂

  8. “Some guys with long faces and long knives came preaching mixture and the Galatians bought it hook, line, and sinker.” I love that line. I’m so glad about Galatians too. Blessings.

  9. The consequence is what we see, Christians and churches have become the greatest barrier preventing God from achieving his purposes.The Gospel is peverted, and Jesus is sold.

  10. Excellent, Paul. Isn’t it odd what we commonly think when we hear the words “fall from grace”? Certainly not this…. and yet what you share is exactly how the Bible uses the term “fallen from grace”. I also appreciated the “How to Walk After the Flesh” article that was linked. Right on.

  11. Grace offered, is not Grace. So nobody can boast.

    • Great Phil it is something everyone has but we can choose to live in it or we can live in our own kingdom.

  12. Michael Jenkins // March 29, 2014 at 6:59 am // Reply

    Thanks for the encouragement, this is a very good scripture. Grace is amazing, it pulls me up when I am down.

  13. I agree Michael. It’s reigning today. In this evil age. A peculiar people to reveal Christ. Tomorrow says, every knee shall bow and call on the name of The Lord. His mercy is limited in this age. To call out his church. Romans tells us not to get prideful. He gives grace to the humble. Lake – to pour, to pour out. Fire – to purify. It’ a picture of Pentecost.

  14. Grace enables God to show us ourselves, we learn about ourselves without being condemned, we can only change what we see.If there is no acceptance of grace we are blind and cannot see, and cannot change. We only hear the wrong voice.

  15. When Paul reminds the Galatians that “they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom,” he’s saying, “Those who belong to Christ shouldn’t act like those who don’t.”

    At first I struggled with this statement (part of this post). But, in reading your book “The Gospel in Ten Words”, chapter 9, the Holy Spirit opened my mind about what you are trying to help us understand. (it felt like a wave of “aha” came over me, really)
    That if we belong, then act like it. We are not zombies. We have to choose to do the things that enable us to thrive in our new life in Christ. We have to choose to let go of the things that are hindering, interfering, holding us back, from our new way of life in Christ. And because we are not zombies, choosing will not be easy, or automatic, at first. But as with anything that matters, successful learning comes from persistent effort.
    In this chapter, my understanding is, after being “born again”, shouldn’t is where you start, but wouldn’t is where you are headed. Praise God for loving us enough to provide a LIght, so we can find our Way.

    • Sounds like a flesh trip to me. Born again means born again. Not growing or working to become born again. A baby doesn’t work on his behaviour to be born. So do we. We ARE already born again. That is the reason we can believe in the unseen in the first place. Find our way? Jesus IS the way. In Christ we rest, let God do the rest. If you don’t trust, your faith is but dust!

  16. This weekend heard a sermon saying change is a choice , the pastor uses the woman caught in adultery as an example. The problem is that the woman did not choose to change nor did she repent, she only looked into Jesus,s eyes and was in his prescence.And I believe she was changed. We cannot simply say it is a choice we by nature do the things we don’t want to do and don’t do the things we want to. God changes us, if we do not hide, and we only hide when we fall from grace.

  17. So just to add do not be preached into a difficult or impossible task.

  18. earl here: I like it Chris, so what your saying is the more you hang with him the more he rubs of on you.

  19. Elijah Onyema // April 6, 2014 at 1:37 am // Reply

    Grace is power, and we receive the grace of God through faith the bible (Rom 12:3). Because it enable us to do with ease what we could never do on our own without struggle. (1 cor 15:9-10). Then the victory we need every single day of our life will come by the grace of God. Note child of God, grace speaks of the generous love of God in his gift of the savour. Living by grace is a life of gratitude and love. Consequences of failling from grace is Eternal Dealth, in otherwords, failling from grace is like a building wihtout a fence any madman can packed in there. So abide in his grace, for us to live is christ…

  20. (1) Grace is our teacher: it teaches us how to live Godly in this world (Titus 2:11-13). (2) Grace is our helper to help us through in times to need (Heb. 4:16). (3) Grace call the throne of throne of grace not throne of judgement (Heb. 12:28)

  21. Donna Crosby // April 8, 2014 at 1:25 am // Reply

    I have been falling from Grace and didn’t even realize it! What can a Christian do if they attend a church where the message is mixed ( law and good works + grace ) ? The sermons are becoming unbearable for me to listen to.

  22. Get Out! Or teach The Doctrine Of Peace to the people. You should never sit in a church that mixes old covenant and new. All things are made new. Rightly divide the word of truth…Law verses grace…Old and new covenant. Paul says if the do not practice the gospel of peace(Grace) to mark them and don’t go around them. There are going to be many people ashamed, who read their bible and think they are super saved but they never rightly divided the old and new covenant scripture and truly accepted the gospel of Peace. Peace between God and Man That Christ restored.
    It Is Finished! Thank You Jesus!!

  23. Falling from grace is like the cripple at the pool, our pride may lead us to say we got into the water on our own, people who do this have the danger that something worse may happen to them.

  24. I feel Donnas pain.Not sure that i have the answer….but will share some of my thoughts that hopefully will help.First of all,dont worry about “finding another church”.You will be threatened with “dont forsake the assembling”,but that scripture is not about “going to church”…its simply about having some time with other believers.Today,christians have almost made a “god” of the local church.We ARE the Church and much of what goes on at our churches is opposed to grace.Sadly many of our “leaders” are those whom scripture says we should oppose and refute(Titus 1 and2).Of course attending church is of utmost importance to them as their agenda and livelihood are helped.(If they really got a handle on grace,i dont believe many would still have ministry as their occupation).Scripturally,such a thing would be the exception rather than the rule…though in our day,it has become “accepted” as the norm.Anyhow,continue to do what you are doing,going to this blog.Study the Word and pray for Gods guidance.Spend time with other believers when you can and i am sure you will lift them up.You are free in Christ.Stand firm and do not allow yourself to be burdened by those who would impose law on you.I realize this is several months since your comment,but hopefully will still help you or someone else.Praying for u.

    • Donna Crosby // July 10, 2014 at 1:16 am // Reply

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words! You have helped to give me a sense of peace. After a lengthy time of prayer, I felt led to leave the church I was attending because of adverse physical reactions I was having while listening to the legalistic preaching and teaching there. I believe I have been deceived by the adversary and so have millions of Christians who have grown up in the mixture/balanced gospel. It is by divine revelation that the Holy Spirit has revealed the true gospel of grace to me and I have experienced being born again, again. I am also encouraged by Philippeans 3:13-14
      Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
      Since God has led me out of Babylon, He will also lead me into a congregation that stands on the foundation of grace. May Christ receive all the glory! Hallelujah

  25. Help me understand this verse. Gal 3:21, I understand that the law cannot give life but I don’t understand how the law is not against promises of God. Col 2:14 says that the handwritting of ordaniences was against us … a little different than Gal 3:21 but it does lead me to say, I don’t understand what Paul’s point was.

    • John, i agree it does seem confusing.As i see it,as i re-read Gal.3,the law(here being the Mosaic law),is not against the promises as it helped bring them to fruition. For 1500 years the Israelites utterly failed in their attempt to keep the law and as verse 24 says,it was to lead them to Christ.When Paul writes in Col.2 that it was against us,it was against the utter inability of man to attain righteousness through law living.This was all written down 2000 years ago.Today,men attempting to live by the law rather than the Spirit is foolish and IS against many scriptures that warn NOT to do that,as no one,Jew or Gentile is under the supervision of the law.

  26. Hi Paul
    I think your sentence, ” When Paul reminds the Galatians that ” they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom,” he’s saying, ” Those who belong to Christ shouldn’t act like those who don’t. ” nails it.
    Not only should they not act like it but there is NO need to act like it- we have been set free -so be free!
    I notice you say remind – the NIV unhelpfully says “warns” (gal 5.21)
    Arnold Fruchtenbaum argues ” inherit the kingdom of God ” is better translated “Enjoy God’s rule in their life”
    Since we to a greater or lesser extent DO enjoy God’s hand on our life this statement cannot be a warning to us.
    Keep bringing the kingdom!

    • In respone to my previous reply I meant it can’t be a warning to us about losing our eternal salvation.
      We can and do lose moment by moment appreciation of all our salvation gives us now.

  27. The words “falling from Grace” paint a picture of Grace being above something.The something that it is above is the Law. It is greater than the Law. We don’t fall from Grace when we sin. We fall from grace when we jump down to the Law/try to earn our Father’s righteousness. The problem is that righteousness is a gift not a reward. Romans 4:14 tells us that we can’t see the benefits of our Father’s Grace if we try too earn it.

  28. My brother can I ask you something. You said in your intro confession of sins in your intro. Are you saying that their is no need to confess our sins. Could you explain this to me please, as I have always been taught to confess my sin according to 1st. John 1: 9 Thank you and God bless you, marie.

  29. In this article you state; Who cut them off? It wasn’t Christ. Who did the separating? Not Jesus. The point on “who” is understood, it wasn’t Jesus. But the point remains, they WERE cut off, separated, severed from Christ and Fell from Grace when they turned back to the Law… My only point is that turning “back to” the Law you “Fall from” this Hyper, Mega Grace of our Loving Father which is what happened to the Galatian “Christians”. Who is Paul talking to in Galatians? Christian Believers, Christians that turned back to the Law for their Justification. Would you agree that “Salvation” is Jesus? i.e. Salvation in Hebrew is Yeshuah, Jesus. Therefore if you turn back to the Law your separated, severed from_______? Jesus, Yeshuah, Salvation. This is why Paul was so upset with them and called them “Foolish Galatians”

    As you preach Grace and not the Law you must see that for one to turn back to or be “bewitched” as Paul states, from Grace back to the Law, from Christ back to the Law your severed from Christ and no longer under the Covenant of Grace (by their own choice).
    These Christians in Galatians were “believers”, believers that started out IN the Spirit.
    Christ IS our Salvation, Christ IS Salvation just as He IS our Wisdom, IS our Righteousness, IS our Sanctification, and IS our Redemption.
    If someone is a believer, starts in the Spirit and then turns back to the Law and separated/severed from Him, falls from Grace how can one have these things? Can one really be separated from Christ and have these gifts from the Father?

    • I’m not sure what you’re trying to say – that they turned back to the law? Yes, that’s very clear. That they undid Christ’s work and broke their unbreakable union with the Lord? No, that’s not possible. As I explain above, there are many adverse consequences to walking after the flesh (which is what the Galatians were doing by trying to keep the law), but causing God to unchild his children is not one of them.

    • momzilla76 // May 18, 2017 at 12:23 am // Reply

      Falling from grace just means you fell off from where you are supposed to stand. It does not mean that you have fallen out of God’s family or kingdom. With old time kings falling from grace meant that you no longer had the benefits that you once did in the royal court. You weren’t kicked out of the kingdom.

  30. I’m sorry but its seems quite simple and clear that Galatians 5 says they “Christians” of Galatia were separated and severed from Christ and FALLEN from Grace. Yes they, “Christian Believers”, severed from Christ FALLEN from Grace!!! I don’t think it can be much clearer. You yourself even stated and I quote “Who cut them off? It wasn’t Christ. Who did the separating? Not Jesus. Soooo you yourself admit they were separated and cut off but yet in the next breathe deny that they were??? Salvation IS Yesuah, IS Jesus. The word is plain and clear regardless which version you read. If you can be separated from Christ who is “Salvation” then Salvation, Christ IS our Wisdom, IS our Righteousness, IS our Sanctification, IS our Redemption. He is our ALL in ALL and if your severed from Him you can’t don’t have ANY of it. God doesn’t break His covenant or cut off His Love but man will ALWAYS have the choice to walk away and turn back to the Law. God always gives man a choice otherwise He would be a tyrant. May God open the eyes of your understanding.

    • If you assume fallen from grace = God unchilding his children, then your conclusion would be consistent. However, I make no such assumption and accept that the consequences of falling from grace are those that Paul describes.

      Please note that I routinely trim/delete comments that exceed the 250 word limit.

    • You have come a long way from, ” I do have a question though, not as opposing, but for clearer understanding. What does it mean to fall from Grace?”

    • momzilla76 // May 18, 2017 at 6:54 am // Reply

      Bill Tradition says that Galatians 5:4 means a loss of salvation or as you put it seperation from Christ. But what does the passage actually say? I looked it up in 8 different translations. One worded it in such a way to imply that falling from grace equaled loss of salvation. Another worded it as cut off from Christ. So 6 out of 8 do not word it as loss of salvation in any way. My Strong’s Greek dictionary defines the phrase as “drop away; especially be driven out of one’s course, become inefficient. Hardly a “you are not saved any more”? You are hyper fixated on something that the scriptures do not support. Look at it this way. The prodigal son was in a far off country while he was sinning yet no matter how far he moved into sin away from his father he was still his father son. Distanced through sin but not unchilded by it.

  31. Yes I have come a long way LJP. I don’t oppose the Grace message in anyway. My point comes down to the once saved (salvation) always saved discussion of many christian believers. My point is falling on deaf ears which is disappointing. No matter how plain some things are there seems to be no “hey you have a point there lets take a look at that further” which smells of pride…

    Clearly you say a Christian can be separated from Christ but still have salvation and to that I have nothing further to say but wow! It is not God who separates from us or disowns us but we who separate from Him which is and has always been man’s problem. But I’m just spitting in the wind at this point.

    • Not pride, but a desire to be brief (please keep any future comments under 250 words and limited to the post being discussed).

      Your questions are all valid and the scriptures you raise are all worth serious study. Believe it or not, but I am trying to help you. On this site you can find articles addressing all the scriptures you mentioned. Please check out the Archives > Scripture Index.

    • Bill, I apologize if it seems no one is considering what you are saying, but I do disagree with your position. I believe in a Savior who saves to the uttermost. Once I allow Him to save me, I have become one with Him in a way that cannot be undone. I don’t see how I can go from seated in heavenly places to lost because I had a bad day and blew my tempter. Once I am one with Him, it all depends on His faithfulness, not mine. If I take matters into my own hands, I can be “cut off” from experiencing and enjoying His life, but not cut off from being one with Him. He will NEVER leave me nor forsake me.

    • momzilla76 // May 18, 2017 at 1:49 pm // Reply

      If Jesus were a club we joined and could leave like a club then your viewpoint would be valid. However salvation, that whole package of having been bought from sin slavery, adopted by God, having our old man killed off and having been made a new creation, all our sins under the one time blood offering, having been made righteous, holy and forever forgiven just does not leave room for a walking away. I cannot walk away from my spleen, lungs or liver. How can a believer walk away from real and factual changes that have been done to their spirit? You do not own yourself Jesus does. Do you have the power to resell yourself to satan, kill of your new creation, ressurect your old man, stuff him back in, wash Jesus blood off of your sins, unadopt yourself, put your spiritual circumsciion back on, etc? Try as I might I have yet to find in scripture where we can do any of that. You are not spitting in teh wind. i just cannot find what you believe in the bible

  32. All I can do is give the word, the same word Paul gave (not my opinion or my position);

    • I already know what Paul said. I’d rather hear what you say. Please see point 7 on this list.

      • Right my mistake, why would we talk about scripture, His “Word” when we can talk about opinions? That sells more books.
        Silly me I thought your site was about the word. I can see I was wrong.
        You say you can’t find what I speak of in the bible but when I quote it directly from the exact book, chapter, verse, and even give the Hebrew or Greek difinition you shall don’t use scripture and remove what I write. How convenient for you.
        Your not a Grace preacher at all.

    • momzilla76 // May 20, 2017 at 12:16 am // Reply

      Challenge your ideas about this through study. Make a list of all of the things in scripture that happen to a person and their sins when they first come to Jesus and then see where the individual has the power to undo any of it.

  33. Paul, when someone falls from Grace. How do we right that and get back to living under Grace?

  34. Paul, I remember this post by you. It really helped me with this concern, as well as, your reply above. Thank you

  35. Jerry Nendel // August 3, 2017 at 11:45 pm // Reply

    Well here is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss. Why? Perhaps persecution or being religiously politically correct. But the Law ingredient (it only takes one – a little leaven leave the whole lump) that is readily, eagerly, unthinkingly added to mostly every Pentecostal/Charismatic church is tithing. In fact they might not even have any of those other more glaring, crude works of the flesh, because they might also,have a really good moral improvement program to keep everything in check. But just like with the Galatians it is just this one thing that is required and then everyone will be satisfied. Tithing is the one thing in our day like circumcism was in their’s. Also their argument that tithing is for today because it preceded the Law. Well, duh, so was circumcism. So I propose everyone that tithes should also be compelled to be circumcised. Let’s be consistent!

  36. Christopher George // September 21, 2022 at 4:31 am // Reply

    Yes it true because we as Christians can’t be acting as those that are not christains.

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