QUESTIONS ON THE RANSOM
Bible Students Online
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death.” (Hosea 8:14.)
“The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 10:28.)
“There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim. 2:5-6.)
Practically all professing Christians would claim that they believe in the doctrine of the ransom, and by that they would explain that they accept the fact that Jesus died on behalf of the race. Only the few, however, have any clear conception of how, or why, His death should benefit the race, other than merely as a good example of self-sacrifice. Such a faith, which views the work of Jesus merely as self-sacrifice, has no value whatever, in the sight of God. (Jas. 2:19-20.)
Again, some, while accepting the fact of the sacrificial value of our Lord’s life, have no clear understanding as to when, or how, satisfaction for sin is made, either on our behalf, or that of the world in general. Such a faith is open to the many deceptions of the Adversary, and is liable to be driven about with any wind of doctrine. (Eph. 4:14.) The sincere truth seeker, however, will not be satisfied until the spirit of truth has led him into a satisfactory and harmonious understanding of this all-important feature of the Divine plan. (John 16:13; 8:31.) The following questions and answers, therefore, will be of special interest to such as desire a clear understanding of this important doctrine.
1. How would you define the term Ransom as it relates to the redemption of the human race?
Ransom, is a term frequently used in reference to the price required for the release of one who has been held in captivity. In this sense, it simply means a price-any price-that would be acceptable to the parties concerned When, however, the term ransom is used in connection with the world’s atonement, we have got to recognize that Divine justice, which condemned and now holds all mankind in its grasp, is unchangeable and that nothing less or more than an exact equivalent, to the value of the life forfeited through the original offence, would be acceptable for the release of any or all of the race. Ransom, then, in this connection, may be defined as a corresponding price and is so used in the Scriptures, because the price demanded is an exact equivalent to the life held in the grasp of justice. (I Tim. 2:6.)
The same thought was indicated in the Mosaic Law by the expression: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. (Ex. 21:23-24.)
2.What is the difference between providing the ransom price and paying it over to Justice?
There is a very important difference between these two things. A person called upon to pay a ransom price of, say, one million dollars, might not possess this amount in a negotiable form. He might, however, possess an estate of this value, but so long as he retained the ownership of his estate, he could not be said to have provided the required ransom price.
To provide the ransom, he would need to sell his estate and thus make available the necessary value in a negotiable form. Paying the ransom, on the other hand, relates to the act of handing over the price, already provided, to the party concerned and thus relinquishing all claim thereto. In regard to the world’s ransom price, the perfect man Jesus, in whom was eternal life, had the exact value required by justice to meet the Adamic offence, namely a perfect human life value. So long, however, as Jesus desired to live as a man, that life value was not available for the purpose of the world’s atonement and it could not be said that He had, at that stage, provided the ransom price.
3. Do not the Scriptures teach that our Lord paid the ransom price for all and made atonement for sin when He died upon the Cross?
There is no Scripture which says so and we are not aware of any, from which it might be reasonably inferred. The writer of the book of Hebrews, interpreting for our benefit, the Tabernacle types and ceremonies, reminds us that the blood of the typical sin-offerings had to be taken into the Most Holy, in order to make atonement for sin. (Heb. 13:11.) In God’s great plan for human redemption, the dignity of the Divine presence is upheld. God dwelleth in light unapproachable by any human being and only the priest dare enter His presence and “not without blood”, which represented the ransom price, or value of the human sacrifice. (Lev. 16:2-3; Heb. 9:7.)
It is thus seen, that while the death of our Lord provided the ransom price (blood), it was not until after His ascension that payment to Justice was made. The evidence of God’s acceptance of the price was the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
4. For whom was the ransom price paid when our Lord ascended into the antitypical Most Holy after His resurrection?
The Apostle tells us that when Christ entered “into heaven itself “, He appeared in the presence of God for us, His consecrated members. (Heb. 9:24.) This agrees with the procedure during the typical day of atonement. Aaron, who served unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, was instructed to offer the bullock for himself and his house the priests only. (Lev. 16:6, 11; Heb. 8:5.) This harmonizes also with the expression of our Lord’s prayer as recorded in John 17:9. Our Lord was just about to enter into the antitypical Most Holy to make satisfaction for Himself-the members of His body-and in anticipation said -”I pray for them (his followers); I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine “.
Had there been no “mystery” class to take out, ahead of the world’s day of blessing, doubtless the ransom price would have been paid to remove the Adamic offence from all mankind, and the new covenant sealed, at the first Advent.
5. When will the ransom price be paid for mankind in general?
When the last
members of the body of Christ have passed beyond the vail of death and joined
their head, then, Christ-head and body-will appear a second time in the
presence of God; this time to make satisfaction to justice for the people-the
human family. This corresponds with
6. Has the Church any part in the ransom?
The church has no part whatever in providing the ransom price, but they have a part in conjunction with their head in paying the ransom price for the world and thus sealing the new Covenant.
In other words, the Lord alone provided the original perfect life which is the starting point and’ basis of the entire work of atonement. This price He paid to justice on behalf of the members of His body, at the first advent. By virtue of this offering on behalf of the church, those who consecrate themselves during this age, to be His members, have their human life rights, which were lost in Adam, restored to them, and being in the, attitude of Consecration, they become part of the Lord’s goat class, and are offered by their Head for the people-the world (Rom. 12:1.)
It is this sacrificed life of the members of Christ, corresponding in value, with the ransom price originally provided’ by our Lord, which is offered to justice for mankind in general. (Lev. 16:15.) It is thus seen that the ransom price is paid for the world indirectly, through the members of the body and that while the members of Christ have no part ‘ in providing the ransom price, yet they do share as the medium through which the same ransom value is paid for the world. Such then is the Mystery of Christ and great is the privilege of those who are permitted to share with their Lord and Head in, the world’s atonement.