Sin

An Encounter with Grace

From the LYWB.com Team: We’re shaking things up a bit round here on the Lies blog. Instead of blog posts, we’re leading you through an online Bible study. The study comes from Erin’s newest books, A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters. You don’t need copies of the books to participate, just yourself and your Bible. We will return to regularly scheduled programming October 9. Grab your Bible (and maybe your journal and a pen), and join us as we look at Jesus through the eyes of four New Testament women. (Psst . . . be sure to keep reading for your chance to win signed copies of A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters.)

The story of the adulterous woman could be ripped straight from a movie script. An illicit affair. An angry mob. A life hanging in the balance. But what makes this story different from anything you’ve ever seen on the big screen is Jesus’ response.

Grab your Bible or head to an online Bible like biblegateway.com, and read her story in John 8:2–11. I’ll wait right here.

Let’s not race past this.

Read John 8:11 again.

What makes this woman’s story so remarkable is that she deserved punishment and death, but instead she got forgiveness.

Jesus didn’t ignore the woman’s sin or act like she hadn’t messed up. (She did!) Nor did He exaggerate her sin or proclaim it unforgivable. (It wasn’t!) Jesus pointed her sin out and simply commanded her to stop. He was offering her a new life in every way possible. This was a collision with radical grace!

Before We Throw Stones

As we continue to peel back the layers of this story, we find two different responses to sin. See if you can catch them.

In John 8:4–5, the religious leaders said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”

Compare that again with Jesus’ words in John 8:11: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Only Jesus is without sin.

The religious leaders interpreted God’s Law to mean they had the right to punish sin. Jesus turned that idea on its head! Let’s revisit the passage one more time, this time zeroing in on verse 7:

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Only Jesus is without sin. Because of this, He was the only one in the crowd that day with the authority to condemn the woman, and yet He did not.

That’s very good news when we look past the adulterous woman’s story and toward our own.

Check out Romans 6:23.

According to this verse, the punishment (or wages) for sin is always death. Since we’re all sinners, we all deserve the death penalty. Yet instead of death, Jesus offered the adulterous woman forgiveness. What gives? Did her sin go unpunished? Did Jesus make an exception? Let her off the hook? For answers, we need to wrestle with a big word—propitiation.

Paid in Full

Check out Romans 3:23–25.

We see that fancy word “propitiation” in verse 25. It simply means full payment. Like making your final car payment or paying your full tuition for a college semester, only this kind of payment is a zillion times better.

The debt for our sin is transferred from us to Jesus.

The penalty for sin is always death. The adulterous woman deserved it. She was guilty after all. And we deserve death, too. We are guilty of breaking God’s law over and over and over. Jesus willingly paid the price because we were powerless to pay it. That’s not the same as ignoring sin. Instead, the debt for our sin is transferred from us to Jesus. He makes the payment; He is the payment.

We Are She

The adulterous woman was a real woman who really lived. Though Jesus dramatically rescued her, this is not a fairy tale. We’re taking the time to point you to this story in God’s Word today because the grace Jesus gave to her is available to you.

Jesus doesn’t ignore your sin and the Father cannot accept it, but the heavy price for it has already been paid by Jesus on the cross.

She was a woman who failed.
She was a woman who sinned.
She was a woman who was broken.

She is me. We are she.

To feel the weight of grace, imagine stepping back in history to the time of this story. Put yourself in the place of the adulterous woman. Replace her sin with an area where you know you fail to measure up to God’s standards. Picture being caught in your sin and being humiliated because of it. Then imagine Jesus gently urging you to stop sinning while freely offering forgiveness.

That offer remains on the table. May you have your own encounter with radical grace!

What is your response to the grace Jesus offers? Gratitude? Disbelief? Shame? Leave me a comment about it below. I’ll choose one of you to win free signed copies of A Beautiful Story and Beautiful Encounters.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s study! We’ll meet two women who had radical encounters with Jesus’ power.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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  • isabella loiola castelo branco

    When Jesus brings His light over my sin I realize how awful I am. It overwhelms my soul and turns my way of thinking in such a way I become humbler, softer and relied on Him. But above of all, I love His gracious approach and beauty. He makes me feel loved, so all I wanna do is love Him back and love others with the same heart. Thank you again Erin! You’ve blessed me a lot.
    With love, Isabella

  • Rose

    God’s Grace is something I will never understand. I can’t understand how he could love this world so much that he sent His one and only Son to become sin and die on the cross. I find myself in awe and amaze over Him everyday and to see His Grace play out everyday with all that goes on in the world is something I will never understand. Every time I fall Him in my walk with Christ, I feel like a fool who has lost His way, but Jesus is always their to lead me back to Him. I don’t understand how he could love a sinner like me, but I thank Him everyday that He sees in me what I myself cannot.

  • Joy

    Beautiful… Beautiful….

  • Faith M. Borres

    God’s grace is sufficient even though we don’t deserve it. His love for us is so abundant, that even though we are sinners, Christ died for us. We are saved by grace through faith. Thank you for this post, I was reminded that we have a loving, gracious Father. ❤️

  • Esther Sentosa

    wonderful. God loves us so much to take his place. I know that I am awful and wretched, but through the blood and by his grace and mercy, he choose to save me. God is amazing.

  • Jackie Triandafilide

    I’m that woman, and Jesus my sweet savior

  • Brittany

    The gospel is gorgeous. Jesus loves us so much. It almost makes me wanna cry.

    Can ya’ll pray for my friend. She is super upset after a hard breakup. I try to get her to see Jesus is God, but she thinks He’s just a man.

  • Tess

    Praise God for His grace!

  • Oluwasunmisola

    I really had been struggling to understand Salvation. I thought it had to do with if I said the prayer right or if I was sincere enough but I believe God brought this to me to understand that Grace isn’t about me or anything I can do. GOD ALREADY DID IT ALL. Thank you for this.

  • Erin S.

    I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. Knowing how wretched I am, yet He loves me and died for me…it makes me think of the hymn, “Were You There?”. Thinking of the Gospel and the gift of salvation…”it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble” in fear and admiration of our Lord and Savior.

  • Duskflower

    This study nearly had me in tears at Jesus’ beautiful perfection and holiness but His grace nonetheless, to choose to love me even when I am no different from that adulteress (except my adultery is choosing the world over my King). What a beautiful story, and the knowledge that the only one that is worthy to condemn me gave His life to save me from that is.. humbling and freeing all at the same time.

  • Coral Vásquez

    I imagine me in the place of this woman and really can’t believe that someone perfect would offer me forgiveness… Jesus’ love goes beyond everything known…

  • Kayla Stewart

    I’m definitely grateful for the love and kindness that has been given to us because of what Christ has done on our behalf. The truth is…we don’t deserve this kind of love. Yet, He still shows it to us.

  • Jane

    I am in disbelief, and in awe of God’s saving grace, and so very grateful.