Last Sunday, I spoke in The Hague about Galatians 5, under the title, "falling out of grace". In my presentation, I explained that "falling out of grace" was not the result of breaking the law, but of expecting justification by keeping the law. In this blog, I want to zoom in on an illustration that I gave in this context, of the people of Israel in the wilderness. God had delivered them out of Egypt, HE provided them with water and bread from heaven, and HE led them through the wilderness. Although the people often grumbled, not until they came to the foot of Mount Sinai, did any of the people perish. Until then, God dealt with them on the basis of grace. All of that changed at once, when all the people solemnly promised:
All that Yahweh speaks we shall do. When Moses brought back the words of the people to Yahweh,
Usually these words are interpreted as being an expression of Israel's faith. But the opposite is true; it was pride. And pride comes before a fall (Prov.16:18). In the same place where Israel unanimously pronounced this promise, she would break it, a short time later, when worshiping the golden calf. But please note: it was not at the golden calf that Israel fell out of grace. This calamity happened already when the people (in advance!) promised to do all that the LORD had spoken. By this decision, they fell out of the foundation of grace.
Paul wrote in Romans 9:
31 … Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, into a law of righteousness does not outstrip. 32 Wherefore? Seeing that it is not out of FAITH, but as out of law WORKS.
Instead of saying "amen" to God's promise that HE will do what He had spoken (=faith), the people declared that THEY would do everything that God had spoken (=work). God's promise gave way to a human commitment and grace became works…
Translation: Peter Feddema