We’re excited to give you a look inside Angela Thomas-Pharr’s new study, Redeemed. This is such an important study for new believers and those older in the faith. How do we live as those who have been redeemed and are being sanctified? What do those words mean? Angela answers these questions and more about being transformed, every day, into His image.
Below is an excerpt from the study. Click here to purchase a copy for yourself and to check out a free sample.
Every day while I’ve been writing this study, an angst comes over me. I don’t want this study to feel like a seminary class to you. I’m desperate for these truths not to become boring or stale. And every day, I come to the same conclusion: God must be the One to bring these truths alive in your soul. I have to trust Him with His Word and His work.
I can’t manipulate one thing or make you have a passionate relationship with God. I can’t beg you to pray or force you to read through the Psalms. I can only hope to guide you as I’m able. To communicate my passion for the Bible. To tell you how God has applied His Word to my life. And then believe the Holy Spirit will bring you something personal and greater.
Today, I’m praying you get one main thing. It’s the most important thing. It’s the one thing that changes everything:
Jesus is the way.
He is the only way to forgiveness. The only way to be restored to God. The only way to eternal life.
Jesus is the only answer for this fallen world. He is our only victory against evil. He is our only peace. Our only joy. Our only hope.
But in order to fully understand that Jesus is the only way, we have to finally realize we are not the way.
We cannot undo the sin nature we inherited.
We cannot find our own way to satisfy God’s holy demands.
We cannot perfectly keep the law.
We cannot claim to be a spotless sacrifice.
But, hey, we’re not all bad people. A lot of us are actually pretty good people. We’ve tried to do the right things, be nice to people, and help people when we can. Goodness, we’re not all big, fat sinners. We’re more like little ol’ white lie sinners—with an occasional mistake. But really, that doesn’t happen very much.
Here’s the thing lots of good people miss: The Bible says all have sinned. And just a little bit of sin separates you from God.
The separated need a way back to God.
Jesus is the way.
As you know, the New Testament opens with the fulfillment of prophecy. The long awaited Messiah was born.
My seminary professor wrote about the coming of Christ: “the anticipation of the Old Testament became the realization of the New.” Jesus quoted the Psalms when He declared the reason for His coming,
Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.”
There is no way I could have made this happen. I’ve moved the order of this study around so much, I can hardly keep up with myself, but I just scrolled down to look at our reading for today in the Psalms, and there was the passage Jesus recalled.
You’ll read the whole chapter later, but for now, turn to Psalm 40:6-8. It was spoken by David and later referred to by Jesus. It’s important enough for us to stop for a minute and consider for ourselves.
Ever since Genesis 3:15, Jesus had been the promised way back to God. The Old Testament sacrifices were temporary and were not able to clear the sinner’s conscience.
According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper.
So, Jesus willingly came to earth as a man in order to become both the priest who offers an atoning sacrifice and the sacrifice itself.
Does that get to you the way it does me? No OT priest was ever clean enough. No OT sacrifice was ever pure enough. So Christ became both for us.
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Depending on the Bible translation you are reading, maybe you wrote the words propitiation, reconciliation, or atonement. Depending on your faith journey, you may or may not understand what you just wrote down.
Atonement is one of those words we can hear and read without actually understanding what it means. Or, if you’re like me, for a long time I would have said, I kinda know what it means. Sorta. Maybe. But don’t ask me to write it down or anything.
Propitiation. Are you kidding? I don’t know three people who could give me a quick definition much better than, I think it’s a Bible word.
Here are some of the Bible words that refer to the solution for sin:
ATONEMENT: means to repair a wrong done. In the Bible, this is the broader term referring to Christ’s death that removed our guilt from sin.
PROPITIATION: means turning away anger by the offering of a gift. In the Bible, propitiation focuses on God’s wrath being turned away by Jesus’ death on the cross.
EXPIATION: means the act of making amends. In the Bible, expiation focuses on the removal of human sin and guilt.
Christ’s sacrifice both propitiates (turns away) the wrath of God and expiates (covers) human sin. The atonement is everything Christ did so that sinners can be redeemed.
Here are some more truths about atonement:
- The atonement was God’s action to repair the broken relationship that sin caused between man and God.
- The atonement was initiated by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Mankind had nothing to do with it.
- When Jesus atoned for the sin of mankind through His death and resurrection, redemption was bought. The transaction is complete.
- There was only one atonement, when Christ endured the judgment for our sins, and there will never need to be another (Heb. 9:26).
I love the story of a man who was asked, “How long have you been redeemed?” His answer gives such perspective to this great Bible truth. The man reportedly responded, “I was redeemed by Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago when He gave His life to atone for my sin. But I only found out about a year ago.”
Remember this: Redemption was accomplished by the atonement. It is finished. The full price of redemption has been paid.
Jesus is the way.