Those who have been influenced by the dogma of John Calvin believe that a child of God can never apostatize to the point of being lost. Dr. Charles Stanley, in his book Eternal Security—Can You Be Sure?, devotes an entire chapter to Galatians 5:4. He desperately wants to negate its impact on the once-saved, always-saved doctrine. Stanley suggests that all Paul is saying is this: If you Galatians seek justification through the law of Moses, you will just be wasting your time. He says that “falling from grace” is not equivalent to losing one’s salvation (p. 135). The good doctor could not be more wrong.
The apostle states that those Christians who turn to Moses’ law for salvation (as an appendix to the gospel) are “severed from Christ.” Mark that. Two points:
- One cannot be severed from that to which he was not joined; hence, we are dealing with apostate children of God.
- These rebels stand severed from Christ; if one stands away from the Lord, he certainly is not in a saved position.
Reflect upon this thought. If being “in grace” denotes salvation (see Romans 5:2; Acts 13:43), why wouldn’t being “away from grace” signify condemnation? Hogg and Vine are quite correct when they observe that: “These expressions must be understood as explicit denials of salvation to those who . . . committed themselves to the works of the law as necessary to justification” (The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, p. 243). Block off this verse in your Bible, and tag it: Child of God can fall from grace.