In the New Testament, Jesus introduces the idea that His redemption involves a ransom
(Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45);
a price is paid for one's freedom. These examples illustrate this idea:
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His
life a ransom (Greek: lutron) for many. (Matt 20:28;
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false
teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought
(Greek: agorazō) them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
(2 Pet 2:1)
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its
seals; for You were slain, and purchased (Greek: agorazō) for God with Your blood men from every tribe
and tongue and people and nation. (Rev 5:9)
This payment required to release a human being from punishment or slavery can find its basis in the Old
1. Ransom of the Firstborn
During the Exodus, God instructs the nation of Israel to consecrate their firstborn sons and
animals when they enter the Promised Land (Ex 13:1-16;
Num 18:15-17). These firstborns were obligated to God, because
they, having marked their doorposts with the blood of a lamb, were protected from Egypt's tenth plague.
Thereafter, God placed a special claim on the Hebrews' first born male son. Presented as God's
property to the temple when one month old, the first born son was redeemed by the father who paid the priest a
redemption price (Num 18:15-16). This ransom served as a reminder
of deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
2. Atonement Money
Taking a census for purposes of taxation or preparation for war is a punishable offense by God.
When it occurs, each person counted had to be covered or atoned for with atonement money
(Ex 30:11-16; 38:26;
Num 3:47; 31:44-54).
Consistent with principles of "ransom of the firstborn" and "atonement money", the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
paid the redemption price to God for the forfeited lives of humanity. Because this ransom involves paid a payment
directly to God, this aspect of redemption is understood in the objective sense, which allows the offer of
salvation to be available for all.
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