“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4).
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus made the following observation: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (NIV). For some, the pursuit of monetary gain is the primary goal of life, and those who place the accumulation of wealth above a relationship with God may be inclined to make bad decisions that lead to undesired consequences.
In a similar manner, Galatians 5:4 tells us that we cannot pursue salvation by works and salvation by grace through faith in Christ; it must be one or the other. One commentary offers the following perspective on this idea: “The apostle is telling them that they cannot have two saviors; they must choose either Christ or the law. If they choose the law, then they are severed from Christ as their only possible hope of righteousness; they have fallen from grace.” (1)
Its also important to consider the context of this passage as we examine the term “fallen from grace.” If we divorce this term from its context, we might be tempted to associate this phrase with the loss of salvation. However we should note that is those who attempt to be justified by the law who have fallen from grace, not those who have already found salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.
Another commentator addresses this concern with the following insight…
“Paul is not discussing the security of one’s salvation here, but rather the two different proposed ways of achieving salvation. If we propose to earn salvation by the works of the law, we thereby reject the free grace of Christ, and He is ‘cut off’ from saving us. In this sense only can we fall from grace. We are both saved by grace and kept saved by grace. We cannot cancel the grace which gives salvation by failing to keep working for it, for works could never earn God’s grace in the first place.” (2)
Finally, Jesus offers the following assurance to those who come to Him for salvation…
“My sheep respond to my voice, and I know who they are. They follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will never be lost, and no one will tear them away from me. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than everyone else, and no one can tear them away from my Father” (John 10:27-29 GW).
(1) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary (p.1920) Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers
(2) Institute for Creation Research, New Defender’s Study Bible Notes Galatians 2:11 https://www.icr.org/bible/Gal/5/4