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The Ransom Price
"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." 1 Tim. 2:5,6
At-one-ment between God and man was wholly dependent upon the presentation of an acceptable sacrifice for man's sins. Unless the divine sentence or "curse" could be lifted from mankind, it would stand as a perpetual embargo, to hinder man's recovery or restitution back to divine favor, fellowship and everlasting life. Under the divine law, the only word of God to man would be, You are a sinner; through your own wilful transgression in Eden you have brought your trouble upon yourself: I have pronounced the sentence of death against you justly, and I cannot remove that sentence without violating my own justice, the very foundation of my throne, my Kingdom. (Psa. 89:14) Hence your sentence must stand forever. It must be met by you unless an acceptable substitute takes your place under it.
We have seen from the Genesis account that the penalty or sentence against mankind was not eternal torture, but, as plainly and distinctly stated by the Creator to Adam, it was death. To suppose that it was any other penalty than death would be to suppose that God had dealt dishonestly with Adam and Eve in Eden--that he misinformed and deceived them. We have seen that a death sentence is a just sentence against sin--that life being a conditional grant, the Creator had full right to revoke it: but it requires no particular ability of mind to discern that an eternity of torture for Father Adam would not have been a just penalty for his partaking of the forbidden fruit--even attaching to that act of disobedience all the culpability of wilfulness and intelligence that can be imagined; much more, it would not have been just to have permitted such a sentence of eternal torture to be entailed upon the countless millions of Adam's posterity. But the death sentence, with all its terrible concomitants of sickness and pain and trouble, which came upon Father Adam, and which descended naturally through him to his offspring (inasmuch as an impure fountain cannot send forth a pure stream), all can see to be both reasonable and just--a sentence before which all mouths must be stopped; all must admit its justice--the goodness and the severity of God.
Knowing definitely the penalty pronounced against sin, we may easily see what Justice must require as a payment of that penalty, therefore the "curse" could be lifted and the culprit be released from the great prison-house of death. (Isa. 61:1) As it was not because the entire race sinned that the sentence came, but because one man sinned, so that sentence of death fell directly upon Adam only, and only indirectly through him upon his race, by heredity--and in full accord with these facts Justice may demand only a corresponding price--Justice must, therefore, demand the life of another as instead of the life of Adam, before releasing Adam and his race. And if this penalty were paid, the whole penalty would be paid--one sacrifice for all, even as one sin involved all. We have already seen that the perfect Adam, the transgressor, who was sentenced, was not an angel, nor an archangel, nor a god, but a man--in nature a little lower than that of angels. Strictest Justice, therefore, could demand as his substitute neither more nor less than one of Adam's own kind, under similar conditions to his, namely, perfect, and free from divine condemnation. We have seen that none such could be found amongst men, all of whom were of the race of Adam, and therefore sharers, through heredity, of his penalty and degradation. Hence it was, that the necessity arose that one from the heavenly courts, and of a spiritual nature, should take upon him the human nature, and then give as substitute, himself, a ransom for Adam and for all who lost life through him. This one is our Lord, that anointed of God, Christ Jesus.
This brings us to the consideration of the word ransom, which in the New Testament has a very limited and very definite signification. It occurs only twice. Once in our Lord's own description of the work he was doing, and once in the Apostle's description of that completed work--our text. The Greek word used by our Lord is lutron-anti, which signifies, "a price in offset, or a price to correspond." Thus our Lord said, "The Son of Man came...to give his life a ransom [lutron-anti--a price to correspond] for many." (Mark 10:45) The Apostle Paul uses the same words, but compounds them differently, anti-lutron, signifying, "a corresponding price," saying, "The man, Christ Jesus, gave himself a ransom [anti-lutron--corresponding price] for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:6
What our Lord did for us, what price he gave on our behalf, what he surrendered, or laid down in death, since it was a corresponding price, "a ransom for all," should correspond exactly to whatever was man's penalty. Our Lord did not go to everlasting torment, hence we have this indisputable testimony that everlasting torment is not the wages of sin prescribed by the great Judge, but merely a delusion, brought upon mankind by the great Adversary, and those whom he has deluded. So surely as that which our Lord suffered in man's room and stead, as man's substitute, was the full penalty which men would otherwise have been obliged to suffer, so surely this is proof positive that no such punishment as eternal torment was ever threatened or inflicted or intended. Those who know the testimony of God's Word recognize its statements to be that "Christ died for our sins"; that he "died the just for the unjust, to bring us to God"; that "he is the propitiation [hilasmos--satisfaction] for our sins [the Church's sins], and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"; that "the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, and by his stripes [the things which he suffered in our stead--self-denial even unto death] we are healed." What harmony and consistency is seen in this Scriptural view of matters; and how utterly inconsistent are the unscriptural delusions of Satan, handed us by tradition and popularly received! 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:2; Isa. 53:5,6
"The wages of sin is death," "The soul that sinneth it shall die," say the Scriptures. (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:4) And then they show us how completely this wage has been met for us, in the declaration, "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures," and rose again for our justification. (1 Cor. 15:3; Rom. 4:25) His death was the ransom or corresponding price. For more information on the Ransom click here
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