Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
As you may know, my central statement of reaching people for Christ is that “you have to know that you are lost before your can be found”. I remember seeing an evangelism team interview people in the street randomly and hearing how many average people stating that they are not lost in sin or going to hell, so do not need a Savior. I was there before, thinking that I was a pretty good guy and surely going to heaven based on my good life. I was blind to the truth about what sin was, the seriousness of sin and the consequences of sin from the perspective to the One who defines and decides what is right and what is wrong in the world that He made. My ignorance of that truth led me (and many) to a sense of false assurance. So, it’s not hard for me to see how the thought that the death of Jesus and His shed blood were somehow the ransom price paid to redeem lost sinners from an eternal prison in hell has been a stumbling block to many of those very sinners. Yet that is the teaching of Scripture, whether it appeals to their reasoning or not. We all are in bondage to sin and need redemption? But what does it mean to redeem.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
In general the word “redeem’ means to purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent. In theology, “redeem” means to rescue and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law, by obedience and suffering in the place of the sinner, or by doing and suffering that which is accepted in lieu of the sinner's obedience. In the Old Testament economy, ransoms were paid for various reasons, such as freeing slaves. The last use of “ransom” in the Old Testament, however, seems to foreshadow the New Testament concept.
Hosea 13:14 “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death”
But, what we may not think of is to whom was the ransom of Christ to be paid? Not to the devil, of course, or to any human king. It can only have been paid to God Himself, for He had set “the wages of sin” to be “death” - Romans 6:23. For a time, these wages had been paid in part “by the blood of goats and calves” offered on the altar as a temporary covering for sins. But that was only until the true ransom could be paid. The High Priest had to first sacrifice for his own sin before he could make sacrifice for the people. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who . . . offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” - Hebrews 9:14. Jesus was the Lamb of God, who did not have to sacrifice for His own sin, because He was sinless. He alone was the acceptable sacrifice that paid the ransom price once and for all. Such a sacrifice was not foolishness as the scoffer claims, but “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” - 1 Corinthians 1:24.
That is why 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: “For 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”.
Praise God—the ransom has been paid and we have been redeemed!
In Christ, Brian