Need for a “Corresponding Ransom”

Need for a “Corresponding Ransom”

Jesus Christ said that he came into the world of mankind that men might have everlasting life. (John 3:16, 17) But how could they gain everlasting life since all mankind inherited sin and death from Adam? Jesus explained: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matt. 20:28) And Jesus’ apostle Paul said that God’s Son “gave himself a corresponding ransom for all.” (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) As you know, a ransom is the means for buying out persons from captivity or slavery. Christ Jesus gave his human life as a ransom to bring persons out of slavery to sin and death. (Rom. 5:21) That sacrifice provides the basis for restoring vital right relations with God, the Life-Giver. But why is Jesus’ sacrifice called a “corresponding ransom”? And how does it bring the needed relief for mankind?

In the case of Adam’s offspring not just any kind of ransom would do. It had to be a “corresponding ransom.” In what way? Well, what valuable possession did Adam lose for himself and all his offspring? It was human perfection. So the real ransom sacrifice would have to correspond to the perfect Adam and possess human perfection. Only thereby could the ransom satisfy God’s perfect justice that requires like for like, a ‘soul for a soul.’—Ex. 21:23-25; Deut. 19:21.

No animal could pay the ransom price, for animals are lower than man. They are not of equal value with man, and so it was “not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats [actually] to take sins away,” as the Bible says. (Heb. 10:1-4) And no man descended from Adam could pay the “corresponding ransom.” Why not? Because they were all imperfect. They all had inherited sin and death.—Rom. 5:12-14; Ps. 49:6-9.

So a perfect man was needed. God provided this need at tremendous cost to himself. As Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son . . . For God sent forth his Son into the world . . . for the world to be saved through him.” (John 3:16, 17) How the love of God is magnified by this! For God gave the life of his Son, “the Son of his love,” his “only-begotten Son,” to provide the ransom price.—Col. 1:13; Rom. 5:6-8.

This required his Son’s becoming human to correspond with the perfect Adam. And God accomplished this by transferring his Son’s life from heaven to the womb of the Jewish virgin Mary. (Luke 1:26-37; John 1:14) Since Jesus did not owe his life to any human father descended from the sinner Adam, Jesus was born free from any inheritance of sin. He was, as it were, “an unblemished and spotless lamb,” whose blood could provide an acceptable sacrifice.—1 Pet. 1:18, 19.

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