Summary: Jesus ransoms us from sin’s debt at a specific point in history to prove the depth of His love and the sureness of our hope.
We’re in a study on the Godhead and our main verse is First John 5:7—“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” We’ve seen that the Word exists as both God and Man. He is both spirit and flesh and this is necessary: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).
Christ is our Mediator. He’s the one who stands between God and us, and this is necessary because we’ve offended God with our sin and we need someone to speak for us. And for this reason Christ is our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. As Prophet He reveals who God is and what He wants, as Priest He offers the sacrifice that secures our justification, and as King He subdues and rules over all creation. This is what it means that He is our Mediator. Now we’re going to press on a little further and look at the second half of our verse and answer the question, What is His part on the covenant?: Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (I Tim. 2:6).
He Gave Himself a Ransom
The Greek word is ἀντίλυτρον (antilytron), and it means the “price of release” or “atonement.” Christ is the one who makes atonement instead of us. He pays the price for our release. In other Greek works it’s translated as the “antidote” or the “remedy.”
Now, we know that this atonement is necessary because we’re sinners and we’ve provoked God’s wrath, but let’s be sure to highlight that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). In order to pay the price owed someone had to die. This is what makes His role as mediator and priest so much different than others’. Whereas a priest offers the sacrifice for the people, Christ is that sacrifice. Whereas a mediator arbitrates between two parties, Christ took up our debts and paid them for us.
What I want to do now is look over some other verses similar to this one and get an idea of what it means that Christ ransomed us:
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Is. 53:5-6).
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (II Cor. 5:17-21).