Adam and Eve
Through sin they knew that they were naked, so they became afraid of God and hid themselves from Him.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" (Gen 3:7-11)
God graciously made garments for them to cover their shameful nakedness. “The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.” (Gen 3:21). These garments required the shedding of blood. Therefore, we see God's grace all the way back to the garden of Eden.
All men on earth were wicked in the days of Noah. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.’" (Gen 6:5-7)
However, Noah found grace in God’s sight. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” (Gen 6:8-9).
He was obedient. “Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did. (Gen 6:22)
He built the ark by faith. “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Heb 11:7)
He was thankful and built an altar to the Lord. “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, ‘I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.’” (Gen 8:20-21)
He was justified by grace through faith. “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,” (Rom 4:2-5)
Although he hesitated when he was told to flee from Sodom, the Lord spared his life and that of his daughters. The Scripture says “But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the LORD was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city.” (Gen 19:16)
“Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” (Gen 19:24-25)
God had compassion on them and heard their groaning in Egypt, when they were in bondage as slaves.
"Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt."'" (Exo 3:16)
"So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped." (Exo 4:31)
'I HAVE CERTAINLY SEEN THE OPPRESSION OF MY PEOPLE IN EGYPT AND HAVE HEARD THEIR GROANS, AND I HAVE COME DOWN TO RESCUE THEM; COME NOW, AND I WILL SEND YOU TO EGYPT.' (Act 7:34)
Though they worshiped idols and grumbled and complained, and many died because of it, He sent them bread from heaven and water from the rock, which was Christ.
"Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, 'THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.' Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." (1Co 10:5-11)
In the Promised Land, they went astray and worshiped idols again. They committed adultery with the false gods of the nations. Therefore, God gave them over to the hands of their enemies, sending them into Babylonian captivity for 70 years. Yet He brought them back to their land afterward and restored them. God was willing to take them back in spite of their unfaithfulness. He preserved a remnant.
Rahab the Harlot
Though she was a harlot, because she had faith and feared God, welcoming the Hebrew spies, she was spared when the Israelites destroyed Jericho (Heb 11:31).
Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Jos 6:22-25)
She became the wife of a Hebrew named Salmon. Together they had a son named Boaz who married Ruth the Moabite, whose grandson was Jesse the father of David (Mat 1:5-6).
"David found favor in God's sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.” (Act 7:46)
Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? "And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. "Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! "For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. "For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. "And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods? "For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O LORD, have become their God. "Now therefore, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant and his house, confirm it forever, and do as You have spoken, that Your name may be magnified forever, by saying, 'The LORD of hosts is God over Israel'; and may the house of Your servant David be established before You. "For You, O LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have made a revelation to Your servant, saying, 'I will build you a house'; therefore Your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to You. "Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant. "Now therefore, may it please You to bless the house of Your servant, that it may continue forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken; and with Your blessing may the house of Your servant be blessed forever." (2Sa 7:18-29)
David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant." (2Sa 11:4-5)
When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD. (2Sa 11:27)
Nathan then said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, 'It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul. (2Sa 12:7)
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. (2Sa 12:13)
Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him. (2Sa 12:24)
He is listed in the book of Hebrews as a man of faith, although he took the gold earrings he received and made them into an ephod and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.
Yet Gideon said to them, "I would request of you, that each of you give me an earring from his spoil." (For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, "We will surely give them." So they spread out a garment, and every one of them threw an earring there from his spoil. The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments and the pendants and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the neck bands that were on their camels' necks. Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household. (Jdg 8:24-27)
Although he did not go to battle without Deborah against Sisera and his army, he conquered by faith and is listed in the Hebrews hall of faith (Heb 11:32).
Although he fell into sexual immorality with a harlot in Gaza, as well as with Delilah, he walked by faith and was used mightily by God to deliver the Israelites. He too, is considered a man of faith in the book of Hebrews (Heb 11:32).
He was the son of a harlot (Jdg 11:1), who made a foolish vow that cost his one and only child her life, yet he conquered the enemy by faith and was another recipient of God’s amazing grace (Heb 11:32).
Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, "If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering." So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD gave them into his hand. He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer to the entrance of Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel. When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. (Jdg 11:30-34)
Peter the Apostle
Though he denied the Lord three times, the Lord restored him and used him mightily.
Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly. (Mat 26:74-75)
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs." He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep. "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go." Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!" (Joh 21:15-19)
The Adulteress Caught in the Act
Although she was caught in adultery, in the very act, Jesus did not condemn her, but told her to go and sin no more.
The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."] (Joh 8:3-11)
As the apostle Paul said, the grace of God teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness (Tit 2:12).
Woman at the Well
She was another adulteress the Lord saved wondrously. Though she had had five husbands and was living with a sixth man who was not her husband, the Lord saved her and used her to bring many to Himself.
He *said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here." The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus *said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly." (Joh 4:16-18)
From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done." So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world." (Joh 4:39-42)
Paul the Apostle
Although he did much harm to the saints and persecuted the church, God had mercy on him. He considered himself to have been the chief of sinners.
He said, "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (1Ti 1:15-17)
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; (Act 9:10-18)
Therefore, Paul could say of himself, "By the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor 15:10)
Although this Christian man committed sexual immorality with his father's wife, and had to be put out of the church, he was later forgiven and restored to fellowship. The people comforted him and reaffirmed their love for him.
Paul said, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife.” (1Co 5:1)
Later Paul wrote to the Corinthians about him saying, “Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2Co 2:6-11)
Jezebel the False Prophetess
Although she taught and led the Lord’s servants astray so that they committed acts of immorality and ate things sacrificed to idols, He gave her time to repent.
'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 'I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 'Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 'And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Rev 2:20-23)
Putting it All Together
From Genesis to Revelation, we see that while God hates sin, He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. He is constantly showing amazing grace to people all over the world, and will continue to do so until the end of the age. It's no wonder He is known as the God of all grace (1Pe 5:10). Let’s remember that we are saved by grace through faith. As Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9).
Of course, grace is not a license to sin (Rom 6:1; Jude 1:4). Anyone who is familiar with my ministry knows that I emphasize the necessity of Holy Living, Practical Righteousness, the Obedience of Faith, and Aiming for Perfection. Yet while the Lord is holy and requires of us holiness, perfection, righteousness, and truth, He also demonstrates abundant grace to the humble when we fall short. The key is to repent and confess your sin to him as David did when the prophet Nathan rebuked him. He said, "I have sinned against the LORD." If you read Psalm 51, you can see how deeply he humbled himself in repentance before God.
James wrote, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jas 4:6-10)
In the words of John Newton:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, I also recommend reading Costly Grace, Drifting Away, By Grace Alone, The Lord Healed My Backsliding, The Conditional Security of the Believer, The Truth Set Me Free!, Is Obedience Optional?, The Cost of Discipleship, God Forgives and Forgets, The Love of Jesus, Aim for Perfection, Walking in the Perfect Will of God, Living a Life Worthy of the Lord, Repentance That Leads to Life, Holding Fast the Faithful Word, No Flesh Will Be Justified By Works, Separation from the World, The Straight and Narrow Path, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Ask for the Ancient Paths, The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, The Apostasy Parables, and Salvation with Fear and Trembling. See the Home page of this blog for more of my articles about Seeking the Lord. You can also find my complete collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.