Have you ever heard the phrase “fall from grace?” It is usually used in the context of someone who committed a significant sin. For instance, if you learned that a Christian you admire cheated on his or her spouse, you might say, “They fell from grace.” There’s actually a list out there naming “20 of the Biggest Falls from Grace in History.” Richard Nixon and O.J. Simpson are among those named, if that gives you an indication. “Fall from grace” is a phrase I have heard and used all of my life. It’s a phrase, unfortunately, I haven’t thought much about until recently.
Using the phrase “fall/fell from grace” in relation to committing a sin is the exact opposite of what it means. Think about it. Isn’t the whole purpose of receiving grace to get something that is undeserved? Isn’t the very need of grace due to sin? Could there actually be grace if there were no sin? To say that someone “fell from grace” because he or she committed a sin reveals a gross misunderstanding of the meaning and purpose of grace. Grace is scandalous. When the sin is committed and punishment deserved, love and restoration and mercy are extended instead! That’s what grace is. Grace stays and loves in the midst of the sinful mess.
Perhaps the next time you and I hear or think the phrase “fall/fell from grace” because of someone’s gross sin, we need to say that he or she “fell into grace.” When you and I commit sins, we are deeper in need of grace. We don’t fall from it. We fall further into it. The grace well never hits bottom. Jesus didn’t die and rise again in order to see that we fall from grace. Oh no. His death, burial, and resurrection secured for all time a never-ending sea of His grace. In fact, the only time you or I will ever “fall from grace” is if we refuse to look outside ourselves for rescue and depend on our own effort instead. In other words, wicked acts don’t lead us to fall from God’s grace. Trust in ourselves and our record of righteousness does. It’s a scandal. That’s for sure. But it’s true. The next time you sin, and the next time you hear of another’s sin, the opportunity is there for the taking: the opportunity to fall deeper into the grace of God.
And Grace Will Lead Us Home.