“Can One Fall From Grace?”

Categories: Doctrine: Grace


Can One Fall From Grace?

Robert Jackson

this is a very serious question that needs to be settled in the minds of religious thinking people. First, we must make our appeal to the word of God for the answer. Secondly, the answer can be understood. I realize that some can cloud the issue with their mishandling of the Scriptures. Yet, the truth is clear. Let us consider the following things:

Consider 1: One must first be in grace. It is evident that in order for one to fall from grace that he must first be in grace. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1–2). A careful study of this reveals how one has access to the grace of God. When one obeys the faith, he becomes a child of God, and thus stands in the grace of God. Paul stated it another way in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The man in Christ is a new creature. He is a recipient of the grace of God. The man who is baptized upon his faith in Christ becomes a child of God (Galatians 3:26–27). He is in grace.

Consider 2: Can he fall? If one cannot fall from the grace of God, then the writers of the Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, wasted much space and time in teaching one how not to fall. Notice 1 Corinthians 15:2, “If ye keep in memory.” What if they forget? Would they still be in grace? Look at Hebrews 10:26: “For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Here we are taught that one can wilfully turn from Christ as a sacrifice. The apostle Peter said that if the child of God did not add certain things to his faith, he would fall (2 Peter 1:5–11). In 1 Timothy 4:1, it plainly states that one will fall: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” Was Paul wrong? Was the Spirit wrong in guiding Paul? No. The truth is that one can fall from grace.

Consider 3: The consequences of falling from grace. It would do us all good to stop and consider the grave consequences of departing from the faith. It means that one is out of fellowship with God. He is missing the joy and peace of mind that comes from serving God. He has brought shame and disgrace to himself and to the name of God. He lives daily in fear of death, knowing that he will fall under the condemnation of God. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

If the doctrine be true that one cannot fall, just think of the time wasted in teaching people how to live. I grant that it would be a very easy doctrine to believe, but it is just not in harmony with the teaching of our Lord. It is true that some fall, and then come back. Others fall and never come back. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost” (Hebrews 6:4).

I believe that a person with an open mind and an open Bible can see that one can fall from grace.

Originally appeared in the June 1984 issue of Christianity Magazine.