Jehovah’s love for the sin- cursed and dying race has been made operative through the gift of his Son to be man’s Redeemer. In John 3:16 we read, “God So loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This text limits the receiving of everlasting life to those who “believe.” But, as Paul asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) And the same apostle also explains that the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) This indicates that as long as Satan continues to rule this “present evil world,” even those who do hear the Gospel imperfectly presented do not have a fair opportunity to believe.
One of the biblical words used to describe the redemptive work of Christ is “ransom,” and Paul explains that a knowledge of the ransom will be testified to all in due time. To Timothy he wrote: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there Is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the ma Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—1Ti 2:3- 6
The sequence stated in this text is most revealing. Paul says that it is God’s will that all shall first be “saved” and then come to a “knowledge of the truth.” So far as eternal salvation is concerned, it must be based upon a knowledge 01 the “ransom for all” and a belief and obedience in harmony therewith. What, then, does Paul mean by being “saved’ before coming to a knowledge of the truth? Obviously this is reference to the fact that in order to have a genuine opportunity to know about the “ransom for all,” the entire unbelieving world will need to be “saved,” or awakened from the sleep of death.
It will be after the people are awakened from death, as Paul indicates, that the glorious truth of the ransom and the manner in which is gives evidence of God’s love will be testified” to them. That will be the “due time” when the “sea” will be converted unto the Lord. Satan, the great deceiver, will then be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Then the way will be made plain, So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”—Isa 35:8 The word “ransom” means a price to correspond, or a price to offset. When Adam sinned he was a perfect man, the “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) God’s just law, demanding an “eye for an eye,”a”tooth for a tooth,”a”life for a life,”meant that if Adam was to be redeemed another perfect man would have to take his place in death. (Exodus 21:23,24; Deuteronomy 19:21) It was for this purpose that Jesus was made flesh—a perfect human being, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.’ ‘—Gal 4:4; Hebrews 7:26 The claim has been made that Adam was not redeemed by the blood of Christ because he was a willful sinner. The fact is that if Adam had not sinned willfully God could have forgiven him without a ransom. It was because God loved him despite his willful sin that, in order to give him another opportunity for life, he sent Jesus to be a ransom for him. Addressing those who have believed on Jesus and have already accepted the provisions of the ransom, Paul wrote, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) From this it is clear that if another sacrifice for sin were to be made, the willful sin of those who now have a knowledge of the truth would be atoned for, and they could return to harmony with God if they wished. It is only because there will be “no more” sacrifice for sin that the reconciliation of present willful sinners will never be possible. Jesus atoned for the willful sin of Adam, So Adam will be awakened from the sleep of death and given another opportunity to live forever.
Adam’s children inherited his sin and the sentence of death which came upon him because of his disobedience. (Romans 5:12) Thus, when Jesus redeemed Adam, it meant that he also redeemed his offspring, who lost life through him. Paul explains the philosophy of this, saying: “If by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even s by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all mer [including Adam] unto justification of Iife.”—Ro 5:17- 19 Christ stated that he came to give his life a “ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) The Greek text reads, “the many.’ The word “many” as used in this text means an indefinite large number. In the Greek it is polus, and it was this word which Jesus used when he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous [polus], but the laborers are few.’ (Matthew 9:37) This contrasting use of the word polus strongly indicates that it denotes a great number, and what better word could Jesus have used to describe the countless millions whom he came to ransom by his precious blood?
The Apostle Paul emphasizes the largeness of this number when he says that Jesus gave himself a ransom for “all”—that is, for the entire human race. This does not mean, o course, that the entire human race will be eternally saved as result of the ransom, for it Is mandatory that there be an individual acceptance of this provision of Jehovah’s grace ii order to receive everlasting benefit from it. But the provision has been made for all; and because of this no one will remain in death because of Adam’s sin, for all have been ransomed therefrom.