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Christian Biblical Studies
- John 1: 14 -
All Scripture references are to the King James (Authorised) Version, unless stated otherwise.
AS THE ʻransom for allʼ Jesus was a replica of the first man, Adam. But unlike the first Adam, Jesus as the second Adam was obedient to death (1 Cor. 15: 45). It is worth noting that in order to satisfy all the Scripture texts bearing on the humanity of Christ – and thus tipping their hats to the Arians among us – adherents of the Trinity doctrine are obliged to describe Jesus as a dual entity, declaring that He was simultaneously wholly God and wholly Man. Thus they concede that Jesus in the flesh was confronted with the hazard of fallibility and the possibility of failure, a thing difficult to reconcile with a role in a triune Godhead.
As the noted American Bible scholar, R. C. Sproul (1939-2017), has observed:
‘Could Jesus have wanted to sin? Theologians are divided on this point. I would say yes, I think he could have. I think that's part of being made after the likeness of Adam. When we're in heaven and are totally glorified, then we will no longer have the power and ability to sin. That's what we look forward to; that's what Jesus earned for himself and for us through his perfect obedience. Christ's perfect obedience was not a charade. He actually was victorious over every conceivable temptation that was thrown his way.’
– Now, That’s a Good Question! (1996)
Christ's death purchases the believing sinner in a unique demonstration of God's justice: Adam the perfect man sinned and God passed the sentence of death on him. Jesus the perfect man offered Himself in place of Adam, prospectively releasing Adam and his offspring from this curse and all its consequences. This is the ʻransom for allʼ mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:
5 [T]here is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The Apostle Paul lays emphasis on this principle of equivalence in 1 Corinthians 15:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
That is to say, all those affected by the curse on Adam – the entire human family, past, present and future – will receive the saving merit of Christ's death as they come to believe in Him as their Saviour and King. Some will avail themselves of the grand privilege now; the vast majority will take their opportunity later, in Christ's earthly Kingdom, following the general resurrection.
The Ransom-sacrifice of Christ guarantees an opportunity for all people to become right with God through faith, to have their sins forgiven, to enter into a contract of grace. There can be no salvation outside this arrangement. Only the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross furnishes the basis for forgiveness and eternal life. God cannot pardon sin except on a righteous basis. And only the Ransom-sacrifice of Jesus the Man explains the process through which God expunges sin's condemnation and yet remains just and fair and holy.
Christ does not save because He belongs to a Trinity, but because He does not.
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