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What is the ransom?

The concept of the ransom is important because it is the entire basis for our Christian faith and the plan of God for the world of mankind. 

What does it mean to say “Jesus is the ransom?”

“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom <Strongs #487> for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6: (NASB)

Ransom:  Strongs #487, antilutron, a redemption price

Strongs #487 is only used in this one place in the Bible.  It is derived from two Greek words:

        anti:  Strongs #473, instead of or because of; used to denote substitution or correspondence

        Lutron:  Strongs #3083, a redemption price, ransom

So, the word ransom in this one text means a “corresponding price.” 

Adam, a perfect man, chose to disobey God resulting in sin and death for him and all his offspring.  The entire human race was doomed to the prison of death in order to satisfy justice – Adam paid the penalty of his disobedience to God. (Romans 6:23: (KJV) The wages of sin is death…)  All of our race are either dead or dying.

Without the intervening sacrifice of Jesus, the cycle of sin and death would continue in misery until eventually the human race died out. 

The death of the perfect man Jesus became the substitute or corresponding price for Adam.  Jesus willingly volunteered to die and thereby paid the ransom by his perfect obedience to God.  The man Jesus would take Adam’s place in death, thereby satisfying justice.

Having paid the ransom price allows the work of the ransom to begin.

“In Adam all die even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

1 Corinthians 15:22 

This legal equivalency of “a perfect life (Adam) for a perfect life (Jesus)” allows for the resurrection of mankind and their opportunity for everlasting life in the kingdom.  Mankind will finally have the full opportunity to be obedient without inherited sin.  As a reward for his sacrifice, Jesus was resurrected as a highly exalted spirit being to complete the great work of bringing mankind back into a relationship with God.

The ransom does not excuse the sins committed by those in this lifetime – it does not suddenly count sinners as saints and usher them into everlasting bliss.  It merely releases the accepting sinner from the first condemnation and its results, and places him again on trial for life, in which his own willful obedience or willful disobedience will decide if he may or may not have life everlasting. 

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world…” John 1:29: (KJV)

“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:18-19: (NASB) 

To learn more about God’s plan and Jesus’ ransom sacrifice listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”