Can One Really Fall From Grace?

Recently, I read an article about a pastor who, because of his indiscretions, stepped down from his pulpit, at least temporarily. The headline read “[Pastor’s name] Falls From Grace”. Of course, implied in this headline is the idea that if a pastor can fall from Grace then anyone and everyone can fall from grace IF we sin too!

The humiliation and circumstances surrounding the pastor and sometimes ourselves certainly seems to indicate that we have fallen from grace, but have we? Is it true? Did the pastor fall from grace? Can you REALLY fall from grace?

According to the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ (the Word of God), and in another word, no! No, in one instance, because grace simply wouldn’t be grace if you had to do anything worthy of it, or earn it or deserve it! I am sure you’ve heard that before, and it is true. But there is an even greater and more firm confirmation revealed in the Gospel!

You see, grace, just like the words “gospel” or “Good News” is not primarily a concept or a word, but a Person – specifically the Person of Jesus Christ! (Titus 1:3, 2:11) In His very Person, and in His being God Incarnate (literally, “in flesh”) as man, Jesus is forever, HIMSELF, the favor and salvation of all humanity. In other words, Jesus is not just God the Father, Son and Spirit’s plan for Adopting mankind into His relationship (Eph 1:3-5), He is also, at one and the same time, mankind’s and the world’s perpetual Salvation. (John 3:16)

The importance of seeing things this way is in seeing that God’s saving us is not an afterthought. It’s not like we fell from God’s grace when we sinned and then He scrambled furiously deciding he would send Jesus to save us with the proviso that we decide to get and do things right! Hitting more at home, it’s not like you fall from the Father’s grace when you (or the pastor!) sin, and God scrambles, promising to save you in Jesus if you get and do things right!

Under that kind of “plan of salvation” no one would be saved by grace, they would be saved by works, or faith, or something other than or in addition to Jesus Himself. (Eph 2:4) That would certainly not make Jesus THE Savior of the world (John 4:42) but only a partial one. And a partial Savior is simply not something the Gospel or scriptures speak about. (Eph 1:18-23)

No! God’s favor toward us in Jesus is a FORETHOUGHT! At one and the same time, and in one and the same Jesus, God decided not only to include us in His Life (adoption) but also to uphold us in Jesus from before the foundation of the world (salvation). Astoundingly, at the same time we were created in Christ Jesus from before the foundation of the world, all of humanity, and every part of our humanity, was also saved in Him!

For us, for YOU, God the Father, Son and Spirit had only one plan – Creation & Redemption in the One Man Jesus! In the truest sense, not only can you or anyone not fall from Grace, because of Who Jesus is and who all people are in Him, you can only fall into grace and more grace! HaHa! (Romans 5:18-21)

Finally, I would like to add that, in the light of the pastor I referred to at the beginning of this article, I do believe it is possible to fall because of preaching grace AND to fall because you haven’t preached grace! Grace is quite the scandal in the minds of a works-oriented culture and can sometimes lead to a pastor being ousted from his or her congregation. Jesus told a parable about this very scandal and it still is one! (Matt 20:1-16) People who think they have earned more than others can hate God the Father for being gracious and sharing Jesus with and for us all.

On the other hand, if a preacher preaches everything but the true Gospel of God’s grace they will often fall from their position as pastor too. This is what I think happened to the pastor I am referring to. This happens because people tend to judge you the way you judge them. If you only preach law or morality as the Gospel then, when you inevitably break the law and get caught, people judge you by what you preached – law and morality – and condemn you accordingly! However, if you preach God’s Gospel of grace, people will tend to judge you in the same way and not condemn you, accordingly…….at least a few of them will judge you graciously! HaHa! (Matt 7:1-2)

Regardless, there is no condemnation to any of us who are in Jesus Christ (all of Humanity! Rom. 8:1) and regardless of how pleasurable or painful we might have to experience it depending on our hard-headedness, there is only grace and more grace to fall into! Be encouraged!

~ Timothy J. Brassell

12 comments so far

  1. Dave on

    What about Galatians 5:4? “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

  2. tjbrassell on

    Greetings Dave! I whole heartedly agree with Paul in the context of this verse! We are on the same page. I was saying the same thing he is saying here when I wrote:

    “Finally, I would like to add that, in the light of the pastor I referred to at the beginning of this article, I do believe it is possible…to fall because you haven’t preached grace!”

    Paul is saying that Christ and His grace are not the primary things in the minds and lives of the Galatians, law is. Therefore, they have fallen from believing and proclaiming Christ and Grace (even as I believe that pastor did!)

    Of course, as I am trying to point out in my article, this doesn’t mean they have fallen into a state where God the Father, Son and spirit is not gracious to them! Paul doesn’t mean that either! In grace, the Spirit has Paul confronting the Galatians (and troubling, law-centered Judaizers!) and encouraging the brothers and sisters there to treat each other graciously, even after they have trespassed(Galatians the 6th chapter – concluding with verse 18, especially).

    This is exactly what my article is trying to help clarify, and especially in light of the fact that every part of our humanity, and every person, has been embraced in the perpetual Incarnation of He Who is Grace, Himself, Jesus the Christ, and adopted into the Love and Life of God!

    Thanks for your question and in helping me further clarify this important Gospel issue!

  3. Jeannine on

    Thank you so much, Pastor Tim. As much as I feel I already know what you have written here, it is a balm to my soul every time I am reminded of it as you have done so beautifully here. It was impossible to read without tears of joy in my eyes. Such good news!!!!

    • tjbrassell on

      Jeannine,

      You’re welcome and thank you!

      I am so happy for your circle of family and friends! Surely with your articulation of, and passion for, the Gospel, all of them are swimming in the overflowing river of Life proceeding from Jesus’ belly, through yours, and into theirs! Ha-Ha!!!

      Peace, Love and Blessings!

  4. Jeannine on

    PS – thanks also for your explanation in the comments above – very helpful!

    • tjbrassell on

      You’re welcome again! I was appreciative of Dave’s question and the confirmation of the Apostle Paul to us, in the Spirit!

  5. Jerome Ellard on

    There goes Pastor Tim AGAIN! Magnifying the Lord!

    • tjbrassell on

      And there goes my brother, again, basking in Christ’s encouragement and sharing it with me! “Thank You, O’ Lord, and may I always do nothing but what Jerome hath said in Your Grace!” You got me praying in old King James! Ha-Ha!

      Peace, Love and Blessings!

  6. Jane Hinrichs on

    Just reading the title of this post made a lightbulb come on in my head. Totally appreciate this post.
    Thank you.

    • tjbrassell on

      You’re Welcome Jane!

      I was hoping to create a title that would do just such a thing! Surely the way you are so participative in and open to the Gospel, light bulbs are going on all over the place in your heart – and in Jesus, the Light of the World, you are a beacon of light set on a hill for everyone to see Him by! Thank you!

      Peace, Love and Blessings!

  7. Juliana on

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful news about the Triune God. I love the part which says “not only can you or anyone not fall from Grace, because of Who Jesus is and who all people are in Him, you can only fall into grace and more grace.” It is a refreshing not to be under the ‘law’ anymore.

    • tjbrassell on

      You’re welcome Juliana, and Thanks for your encouragement! I, too, love that the Triune God’s grace is inescapable and there is only more of it (Him!) to be experienced. I celebrate our freedom for others in the law of love and our freedom from the bondage of legalistic living, in Jesus, with you!

      Peace, Love and Blessings!


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