by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7 Lincolnton, NC August 22, 2004
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
1901 ASV Translation:
6 who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;
There are no variations between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in this verse.
I. The "man" Christ Jesus "gave Himself as a "ransom".
A. The "ransom" concept is only referred to by the use of this particular word three times in the New Testament. Jesus used it in a contrast against the desire of men "to be ministered unto" in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45 in a form that is basic and Paul uses it here in an expanded form -- he added a prefix. This word is related in form and content to the more extensively used word "redeem/redemption".
1. The basic meaning of "redemption" is "release from". The pictures of the New Testament regarding "redemption" all coalesce under the image of the redeemed being set free from something that kept him/her in bondage [Note Hebrews 11:35 where the word is used outside of the New Testament norm of reference to the work of the Christ on man's behalf].
2. The issue of "ransom" is the "means of release". In the Revelation, those who are loyal to Christ can "ransom" themselves from the clutches of the antichrist by "accepting a mark of loyalty to him" -- an action that is absolutely forbidden, but an action that reveals something fundamental about "redemption": it has to do with an "objective" demonstration of an internal loyalty. In the case of accepting a mark, of course, there may not be an internal loyalty to the antichrist at all; the loyalty may only be a final loyalty to one's body and the act of accepting the mark may be only a way to protect that body.
B. The most obvious question, in reference to a "ransom", is "who was holding man "hostage" until the "ransom" was paid? The answer is "God". The issue, as far as Paul was concerned, was that God faced the connundrum of the demands of Justice and Mercy. He sought to be "just" while attaining to the expression of "mercy". In purest form, they exclude each other. Thus, the issue of man's redemption was an issue in respect to the attributes of God (but not the Persons). The attributes of deity are comprehensive and held in perfect harmony: the Lion and the Lamb lie down together. It is a mistake to think that the "Father" sought "Justice" while the "Son" sought "mercy"...this is tri-theism at its polytheistic "worst" -- putting the "Persons" at odds with one another. It is also a mistake to think that the "Son" was the only One Who suffered at Calvary (this destroys the entire meaning of John 3:16 -- what "love" sacrifices what it suffers nothing over??). The fact is, the Calvary event created infinite suffering for "God" -- Father, Son, and Spirit -- but the suffering was made "visible" only by the Son...because He was the only One Who had taken on "flesh" for the purpose of becoming "visible to man". This was a huge condescension on God's part to man's need. Man tends powerfully in the direction of "belief through sensory perception" (Matthew 13:16). However, there is a "blessedness" for those who "believe" without "seeing" (John 20:29). The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of those who "believe" do so without "seeing" simply because only a very few "saw".
1. But, this "ransom" paid by God to God raises this question: what was the "point" of a ransom paid by God to Himself? Is this not like a man who has $50 dollars in coin in one pocket and $0 in coin in his other pocket and the weight is pulling unevenly on his garment so he shifts $25 from the heavy pocket to the empty pocket and then goes on his way "balanced"?
a. It must be remembered that Paul says the "ransom" was paid by Jesus Christ the Man.
b. The claims of Christianity are that an objective reality took place at the point when God, the Son, took on Manhood. This reality is never to be "undone". The "Son" will always, now, be "different" from the Father and the Spirit in the realm of "attributes" because the objective reality of manhood is now an additional "attribute" that is not an attribute of either Father or Spirit.
2. This question is, actually, a question of the need for an "objective" act that has a fundamentally "subjective" impact. Man is redeemed by the "objective" act, but he is not reconciled until that act is accepted by both God and man in such a way as to heal the antagonism that is fundamentally in the "heart/mind" and only secondarily made manifest by activities of injury to one another.
a. The Scriptures say that God "reckons" a man "righteous" when he embraces his "redemption". This appears to be "mental bookkeeping". Man does not actually become "righteous" in either attitude or action by the embrace -- unless that embrace is seen to so alter the heart/mind that sin is no longer expressed through the body...a state that will be achieved at the point of the redemption of the body.
b. The Scriptures also say that man is to "reckon" on God's "reckoning" so that his own heart/mind is directed into loving loyalty to God for His "reckoning". In other words, man's cessation of antagonism is rooted in his faith in the claim of God's cessation of antagonism.
c. Perhaps the more fundamental question is this: is anything really "objective" to God? Pantheism, and panentheism, both say "no". Christianity says God created an "objective" reality that is not just an extension of Himself. There is, according to Christianity, a real "other" that stands apart from deity in terms of essential composition and identity.
d. Thus, the conflict between Justice and Mercy is resolved only by actual events in the external realm -- the "not-God" realm of creation -- and by attitude changes in the internal realm of God's own Being. His antagonism toward sinners is muted by "Another's" actions as Man.
e. So, how does this make Christianity something more than just a "mind game"?
1) Creation is an objective, not-God, reality.
2) Sin, as the actual accomplishment of harm to another for no cause, is also an objective, not-God, reality.
3) The consequences of sin are also objective, not-God, realities.
4) Redemption can only be accomplished in the objective realm even though that accomplishment must be embraced "subjectively" before reconciliation can be achieved.
C. The "ransom" was "for" all. The word "for" means "in the stead of". The word means that the "Man" took the very place of all "men" so that He stepped into their identity and their "place" in the reckoning of God. Men were "corporate man" in Adam and believers are "corporate man" in Christ. Just as multiple members make up a body, just so multiple men constitute "man".
1. The "all" is comprehensive in this sense: Christ became "Man" and all "men" are the beneficiaries of His action as "Man". Technically, the only way God can send rain on the unjust is if He is free to be merciful. This "freedom" was achieved by Jesus Christ as Man.
2. However, the degree of the extension of "mercy" to mankind is relative to one issue: the degree to which men come to value, understand, and believe what is true so that they adopt the Truth into their doings. It is an integral aspect of divine revelation that man will ultimately experience the blessedness of life in proportion to the degree of his valuing, understanding, believing, and practicing of the truths of Truth.
a. There is a "breakover" point in the giving of "mercy" to men on the basis of the ransom of the Man.
1) All men receive some "mercy" without regard for the requirements of Justice. This is possible because the ransom was for "all".
2) However, only those men who embrace and use the truths of Truth find their experience of "mercy" expanding. Justice was not "set on the shelf and relegated to full denial of satisfaction" by the ransom of the Man; rather, Justice was simply tempered so that Mercy could be equally expressed. It is the development of equal expression that most fully permits man's blessedness. Man is most blessed when Justice and Mercy are working hand in hand with his "believing" cooperation. God would bring man to the same balance by which He functions and those men are most blessed who most fully come to that balance. Hell is for those who refuse to enter into the movement toward balance.
3) Thus, the "breakover" point is the point when man is "converted" so that he actually enters into the process of coming to balance.
b. Ministry, then, is entering into the process of seeking to provide men with the truths of Truth so that they make progress unto balance.