A Ransom for Many
October 15, 2021
. . . The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).
The atoning death of Jesus Christ was ordained to satisfy God’s holy justice against sinners. But note that Jesus said He would give His life a ransom for many. That is an arresting revelation. Didn’t Jesus say, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world though Him might be saved (John 3:16)? Yes, He did. So, if Jesus died for the whole world, then the whole world will be saved, right? Wrong.
Although Jesus died a sacrificial death for all sin and sinners, it is only affective for those who believe in and receive Him as Lord and Savior. This is what Jesus meant when He said He would give His life a ransom for many rather than a ransom for everyone. Does this mean that Jesus was teaching the doctrine of ‘limited atonement’, a doctrine popularized by Calvinists and the Reformed tradition which states the death of Jesus Christ was intended to win the salvation of God’s people alone, and not only was it intended to do so, but it will actually achieve it as well?
Jesus was not teaching ‘limited atonement’. Scripture makes it clear that Jesus died for the world. (1 Timothy 2:5-6) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. The Scripture also makes it clear not everyone will believe in and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Case in point - Judas Iscariot who was a disciple of Jesus for 3 years, then rejected and betrayed Jesus! Do I expect to see him in heaven? Absolutely not! Nor do I expect to see Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.
When Jesus gave His life as a ransom for many, He paid the price for sinners to be set free from enslavement to sin. Only those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior are set free from that enslavement. Only those who trust in Jesus have that ransom appropriated into their lives. It’s like a man who has been sentenced to life in prison for a hideous crime he committed, and after 25 years in prison, he comes up for parole and is granted parole, but decides not to leave prison because he likes the free room and board and other amenities. The sinner remains a sinner because he loves his sin more than he loves the Savior. (John 3:19-20) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
“Father, I know the only reason I am saved is because You extended grace and mercy to me and sent Your Holy Spirit to open my understanding to my sinfulness and the need for Jesus. Thank You for the gift of faith to believe in and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. May You be praised, honored, and glorified forever, Amen.”