You have deserted the state of Grace when you revert to law-keeping as the basis for relating to God. Paul is very careful in Galatians 5:4 in the words he chooses to express this truth. He writes, “You are severed from 05 santaChrist, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” He says you have fallen “away from” grace. We usually think of falling from grace as meaning that we fall into sin. Some argue that when a believer sins he falls from grace and even loses his salvation. Boice says, “The phrase does not mean that if a Christian sins, he falls from grace and thereby loses his salvation. There is a sense in which to sin is to fall into grace, if one is repentant. But to fall from grace, as seen by this context, is to fall into legalism … Or to put it another way, to choose legalism is to relinquish grace as the principle by which one desires to be related to God.” Paul’s words “fallen away from” is not the same as “you have fallen from grace.”

I agree with Maxie Dunham as well as many other commentators who assure us that Paul’s use of “fallen away from grace” does not mean to lose one’s salvation. What it means is to pass from the grace principle to the works principle. It means to break the flow of Grace, unmerited favor, from God to us in that we seek to replace unmerited favor with “merited” favor by our law-keeping. Therefore we fall into the miry pit of relating to God on the basis of our performance. It’s not God’s unconditional love for us, but it’s God’s conditional love based on our performance. He loves us when we’re good, He rejects us when we’re bad. It’s more like relating to Santa Claus. “He’s making a list and checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…He knows when we are sleeping and He knows when we’re awake, he knows when we’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.” Christ makes us acceptable for God, “while we are yet sinners.” We are born again into God’s family and relate to God on the basis of His unconditional love and His promises given to us through Christ.

Those who want to add something to the basis of salvation do what Richison says, “They put themselves in a place where they could no longer benefit from Christ.” What he means is that we make Christ something less than He actually is. He’s not “everything” He’s just part of the equation of salvation. The rest of it is based on our own merit. Richison goes on, “Either Christ must be everything or nothing to us. He does not accept divided loyalty. We must not lose our hold on Christ for daily living otherwise we will fall from the higher level of living by grace to the lower level of legalism.” Living under the law principle robs us of the joy that Christ brings. Living under the grace principle in contrast to living under the law principle is the difference between being free and being a slave.