0 / 0
THE Ransom of our race by our Savior is a matter of deep interest to the Lord's people, and one which apparently is very difficult to understand clearly. We view the subject from different standpoints. All see the same thing, but all do not see the details.
God might have told us that He had arranged a way by which Justice and the dignity of His Court of the Universe could be upheld and man nevertheless be released from the sentence of death imposed upon him six thousand years ago. There was no need of His telling us anything about the Ransom. It would have been sufficient for us that God should have told us that He had attended to the matter properly. But instead, God reasons with us in the Scriptures, and there explains the process of His Government by which He could be just and yet be the Justifier of sinners. This process which God had all to do with and man had nothing to do with is Scripturally styled the Ransom—the giving of the perfect life of Jesus to be the full, complete offset for the forfeited life of Adam, the father of our race.
From this viewpoint, if one went no further into the matter, one might say, "Jesus has died and the world has been ransomed"—just as the Scriptures speak of Jesus, even while He was in the flesh, as being the Messiah, the King of Glory. Even when He was a babe the angels sang, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ [Messiah] the Lord." Their statements included not only the babe and what had already been accomplished in His birth, but all the great work which He would do in the future. As a matter of fact, the babe was merely called a Savior because He would in the future save His people from their sins. The babe [R5891 : page 133] was merely called the Anointed—Messiah—because it was foreseen of God that He would make a consecration at Jordan, be begotten and anointed of the Holy Spirit, finish His work of sacrifice and be exalted to Heavenly glory, not only, during this Age, for the Church which is His Body, but also for the willing and obedient of the world of mankind during the Millennium. Thus we see that the babe was not the Savior except in the prophetic sense that He was to be the Savior. He was not King except in the sense that He was born and came into the world to that end. He was not the Deliverer then, nor has He even yet delivered all His Church; whereas, after the deliverance of the Church, comes the deliverance of the world from the reign of Sin and Death.
Similarly the word ransom may be, and often is, used by us all in a prophetic sense—as including the entire work of Redemption down to the very end of the Millennial Age; as we read, "I will ransom [deliver by a ransom] them from the grave."—Hosea 13:14.
But as we come close to these various questions and analyze them, we see new beauties, new divisions of matters, which at first seem to be indivisible. We see, for instance, that the first step toward ransoming the world was taken when the Logos left the glory which He had with the Father and humbled Himself to become the Man Jesus. The first feature in the ransoming work was our Master's consecration of Himself at Jordan, followed by His life of devotion even unto death. The completion of His sacrifice was the completion of the Ransom- price, but it was not the completion of the Ransom- work. Indeed, the Ransom- work could not even begin until the Ransom- price had been provided—not paid.
We sometimes have spoken of Jesus as having paid the Ransom when He died, but such expression was not accurate. The price of obedience to the Father's will was death, and our Lord's death constitutes the price. In one sense Jesus paid it when He surrendered His life; but in another and more accurate sense, He did not pay it, but merely placed it in the hands of the Father as the price to be appropriated, or made applicable later.
The Ransom-price has been in the hands of Divine Justice—in the Father's hands—ever since Jesus died, but only as a deposit, because the time had not come for it to be paid over officially. If the Divine Plan had been for Jesus to take possession of the world and to set up His Kingdom at Pentecost, then it would have been proper for Him to have paid over to the Father the Ransom-price fully and completely—appropriating it as the offset to Father Adam's sin and sentence on behalf of all his race. But had that price been formally paid over, the proper and logical thing would have been for the Father to put the whole world immediately into the hands of Jesus, and for the Millennial Reign to begin.
There was, however, another feature to the Divine Plan: God did not wish to turn over the Kingdom to Jesus until the great Seventh Day, the Millennium. He did wish that during the intervening more than eighteen centuries a Church class should be called out from amongst the world, to be the Bride and Joint-heir of His Son in the Kingdom. Hence the Ransom- price for the sins of the whole world was merely left unappropriated, while Jesus dealt with the Church.
And since the Father's Plan for the Church was that they should sacrifice or surrender their earthly interests and receive, instead, Heavenly interests and the Divine nature, therefore it was not necessary to give the Church Restitution—the thing which the Ransom-price will secure for the world of mankind. Hence, instead of giving the Church a direct share in the Ransom-price, which would mean Restitution, the Lord's provision for them is different; namely, an imputation of merit covering their blemishes, so that they might present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
All, therefore, that Jesus has done with the Ransom-price is to impute a share of that price as covering the shortcomings of those who desire to become His disciples and joint-heirs. He has not appropriated it to them actually, as in Restitution, but by imputation—justifying [R5891 : page 134] them from all sin, and thus permitting them to be accepted of the Father as members of the House of Sons, by the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
And how beautiful is the thought that, when shortly our Lord will pay over the Ransom-price for the sins of the whole world, and have the world immediately turned over to Him for Restitution work, the Church will be with Him in glory sharing His honor and His Throne, as now they share in His sufferings and His ignominy!
When the Ransom-price shall then have been given to justice in exchange for the world of mankind, and when the purchased world of mankind shall have been turned over to the Purchaser, the legal phase of the Ransoming work of Jesus and the satisfaction of Justice in the release of mankind from the penalty of death will be complete. Then, however, another part of the ransoming will begin and will operate; namely, the giving of the benefits of the ransom to Adam and his family. This phase of the Ransom- work will continue for the thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom, bringing Restitution to man and his earthly home—to all the willing and obedient of Adam's race—the unwilling being destroyed in the Second Death.
Then the Ransomer will have completed His work of ransoming the human family in its two phases: First, its legal phase, the satisfaction of Divine Justice by the giving of a life for a life; second, its practical phase, the restoring or recovering or delivering of the redeemed from the bondage of Sin and Death to the liberty of the sons of God.—Romans 8:21.