Why must our ransom cost so much?

Published 9:03 am Friday, March 13, 2009

Who is it that occupies that “soft spot” within you? Is it your spouse? Maybe it is your children or grandchildren. Perhaps it’s a special lifelong friend. Whoever it is, you realize that — if needed — you would spend a lot of money, time and effort on them.

Perhaps to some extent this answers one of our hidden questions regarding our salvation. You know-that one that keeps popping up in our minds especially during the season of Lent. “Why? Why did Jesus need to go through such horrible suffering?

God has led us to love Jesus. It tears us apart inside to hear again of how He was ridiculed and beaten, was ripped apart by the scourge, was pierced by the thorns and spikes and hung exposed to the elements for six excruciating hours with blood dripping from thousands of wounds. We scream within, “Why? Why did He need to go through all of this? Yes, He wanted to save us from the punishment our sins deserved! He wanted to pay whatever was necessary to set us free! But why must our ransom cost so much?”

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I ask you again. “How much would you spend on that person that is so dear to you?” How much would you pay to set that person free if they were kidnapped and their life was in danger? Would you hold back any of your finances, possessions or efforts? Wouldn’t you actually be willing even to give up your own life if necessary to save theirs?

God cherished and loved his “crown of creation” Adam and Eve. He gave them a free will but warned them that the price of disobedience to his rules would be death. They of course had no concept of what was fully involved. There would be physical death for them and their descendents, the “death” of the perfect world they knew, plus an everlasting death or “separation” from God’s own sinless presence.

As we sin, God in His perfect justice cannot just ignore this punishment and “let us off” because he still loves us. His justice must stand. This payment of death is so costly that we hear in Psalm 49:7-9, “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him — the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough-that he should live on forever and not see decay.” Why, even if you give your life into death for someone, you are only dying the death you deserve by sin.

Now multiply this filth of sin and the resulting verdict of “death” by billions of people. How could this ever be paid? How could God’s intense anger against the vastness of mankind’s evils ever be satisfied?

This is something only God himself could handle —but would he? The answer was found in his love for you, me and all humanity. He loves us so much that he would do “anything” to save us — even die for us. God tells us in Romans 5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The blood of God himself was the only thing precious enough to pay the price of ‘death’ for all those billions of sinful souls. In love, the highest ransom price ever demanded was paid and now, “The blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin.” I John 1:7

Yes, God in his grace does forgive us for Jesus’ sake. But we must never consider this “cheap” grace. It cost a lot! It required all the pain, suffering and death we hear about during lent to set us free. As we read in Hebrews 10:10, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”