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).
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Gal. 1:3-5).
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:11-14).
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God (I Pt. 3:18),
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Gal. 4:3-5).
At the right time
After telling us that Christ was our ransom Paul says that it was “to be testified in due time.” In other words Christ was revealed to be the ransom at the right time. People first had to go through a period of sacrifice without Law and then they had 2,000 years of sacrifice under the Law. But why does Paul mention this at all? The answer, I think is in the truth that history is an unraveling of the plan and purpose of God for His children. Christ is our ransom, but its importance is better understood because we’ve experienced it through time: