At the Last Supper Jesus spoke of the wine that was shared in remembrance of the Jewish nation’s deliverance from their bondage in Egypt, “This is my blood of the covenant that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. For as we have seen, forgiveness of sins is inseparably related to our deliverance from the bondage to sin; cf. Luk 4:18 where the same word for forgiveness occurs twice (NAS release and set free). We have also seen that our sin is much more than just a collection of violations against God’s commands. Rather, sin is the deceptive bent of our fallen nature from the serpent’s poison that deceives us to “miss the mark” by doing our own will and fulfilling our own desires as a god to ourselves rather than doing the will of the Father for which we were created. Hence, the forgiveness effected through the shed blood of Christ comes not because it satisfies a penalty of death imposed by God’s justice. For death was not a judicial penalty, but the natural consequence according to God’s laws of creation of the spiritual poison with which man was infected by the serpent’s sting. Rather, forgiveness through the shedding of Christ’s blood happens because it shows us the way to life through death. For only when we die with Christ by following Him in the way of the cross are we released from the bondage of sin, and it is only through the power of His Spirit of sacrifice that was also poured out for us upon the cross that we are able to do so. By dying with Christ to our sin, God is also able to raise us up from the dead with Christ through the power of that same Spirit of Holiness. It is in this way that His blood cleanses us from our sins by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior (Tit 3:5-6). And it is for this reason that although we can participate in that resurrection power of the Holy Spirit now on this side of the grave as we also mortify our fleshly desires, it is only after our physical death on the other side of the grave that our salvation from sin will be complete.
With this understanding we can now better understand the answer to the following questions. We know that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many (Mat 20:28); to whom was the ransom paid? To God? No, for God in Christ paid the ransom to redeem us, and a ransom is never paid to oneself. Hence, again, Christ’s sacrifice was not to appease God and satisfy His own justice; the ransom God paid through the blood of Christ was for our benefit, not His. And if the ransom was Christ’s death as paying the penalty of death for man’s sin, why wasn’t His simple death alone enough to accomplish its purpose in God’s plan for our salvation? I.e., why was it necessary that He also suffer even to the point of torture before dying? See Luk 9:22,17:25, 22:15, 24:26,46.
So then, was the ransom of Christ’s death paid to the devil, and were Christ’s sufferings a part of the ransom demanded by Satan as the god of this world, as C.S. Lewis depicted in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Notice that Scripture never says that Christ’s death was a ransom to the devil, only that it rendered powerless the devil who had the power of death, and set free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Heb 2:14-15). From what two things does Scripture repeatedly mention God as ransoming or redeeming man? See Job 5:20, 33:24-28, Psa 31:5 (cf. Luk 23:46), Psa 49:7-9,15; 103:4, Hos 13:14, and Psa 130:7-8, Tit 2:14, 1Pe 1:18-19; cf. Isa 52:3, Jer 31:11. So then, was it not from sin and death that Christ ransomed us by showing us the way to life through death, by following Him in the way of the cross to die to sin, knowing in faith from His heroic example that God is able to raise us up from the ignominy of suffering and death and exalt us to an even higher place? And since we no longer fear death are we not also set free from all the bondage of the devil who otherwise through the fear of death subjects men to slavery all their lives? See Mar 3:27, Luk 11:21-22. So then, Christ’s death ransomed us not from the devil, but from sin and death. But in doing so, He also stripped the devil of his armor, rendering him powerless and setting us free. In what way then might we understand that the ransom Christ paid was also actually paid to us, to show us the way to life through death and deliver us from all the bondage of our own sin nature, but the only way to accept that ransom is to follow Him in the way of the cross? Cf. Mat 10:38-39, 16:24, Joh 12:24-26a, 14:4-6.
Finally, why was it necessary not only that Christ die for our sins, but that He also suffered as He did before He died? See Heb 2:18, 5:8-9, 1Pe 2:19-23, 4:1-2,13-19, 5:8-10. Cf. Joh 16:33 and think: can there ever be a “perfect” world where everyone accomplishes their own will, any more than there can be a square circle? Isn’t this exactly what makes our present world so imperfect? Rather, is not the only truly perfect world one in which all wills are submitted to the will of the Father (who alone has everyone’s best interests in mind), which necessarily requires a daily suffering in our own flesh as we subject our will to His? Cf. Luk 9:23, 1Co 15:31 and consider: If man had not fallen into sin, but continued in fellowship with the Father as he was fruitful and filled the earth, would not the rule of life have still been to die daily to our own self will?
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?