Article of the Month

March 2011

 

A PARABLE of the RANSOM
and SIN OFFERING
 

 

Two of the foundation doctrines of the Bible are the doctrines of the RANSOM and the SIN OFFERING.  Despite their importance, they are rarely heard or discussed among the majority of professing Christians.

For the purposes of this article, it seemed better to make up a little story (a parable of sorts) which explains these primary doctrines, rather than to go into a lengthy listing of pertinent scriptures with detailed explanations.

No such parable exists in the Bible; but the concepts of the following story are rooted in Scripture deeply, and they form the very foundations of salvation.  If in our effort to shorten and simplify we offend any, we are truly sorry.  It is our desire merely to share the glories of these doctrines with any who will cherish them.  A little made-up story about God and His son seemed like an appropriate introductory approach.

 

  ONCE UPON A TIME 

 

One day in the heavenly realm, it was about two years after Adam’s creation, the Logos (the “Word” — Jesus in his pre-human existence) approached his Father with distressing news.  “Adam has sinned.  If it meets with your approval, I would like to offer myself to do away with this sin and all of the effects I know are coming.”

“That will be just fine,” Yahweh (God’s Name in Hebrew) replied.  “I knew this was coming and that you would seize the opportunity to remedy the situation.  I’ve already decided on a name for your assignment.  Since you are offering to do away with sin, we will call it THE SIN OFFERING.

“I do see a problem, however.  I explained to Adam that disobedience on his part would result in the forfeiture of his life.  I do not renege on such proclamations of justice.  You will not be able to help him until a way is provided to satisfy My just claim on his life rights.”  (Genesis 2:17, margin)

The Logos, despite the incredibly serious implications, responded in the most lovely of all sacrificial attitudes.  “I know how we can do that.  If you will allow me to be changed — to be born as a human — I can supply the life rights needed.  I will, unlike Adam, prove that I have life rights by being totally obedient.  Then I will voluntarily die in his place.  You will have the human life rights that your justice demands.  There will be no compromise of justice, and Adam can be freed from the death sentence.”  (Hebrews 2:9)

Yahweh could only look upon His only direct creation with a flood of emotional love and satisfaction that this son of His could respond with such selflessness and willingness.  “You delight all of My attributes, and you shall be rewarded beyond measure for your humble agape (Godlike) love.  However, you may not realize that while your suggestion solves one problem, it creates another very large one.  When you die to ransom Adam — Yes!  That’s the perfect name for your action; we’ll call it the doctrine of the RANSOM.  When you die to ransom Adam, you’ll be dead!  You won’t be able to apply the benefits of the life-rights you have provided.  Your first idea of offering yourself to do away with sin will have to come to a sudden halt!  I could release Adam from death, but he’ll yet be imperfect and will just die again on the spot.  Providing this RANSOM is mandatory, but it ends up by itself as being functionally useless!”  (I Timothy 2:5, 6)

The Father and Son went over Yahweh’s plan to correct this seeming impasse.  As always, the Divine plan not only solved problems, it seized upon them to create even greater glories.

“Here is what we will do,” Yahweh explained.  “Once you grow to the age of maturity as a man, you can offer Me your humanity — but do it symbolically, as a legal contract.  We’ll call it BAPTISM.  Don’t actually die then; just contract to do so.  I am going to name you ‘Jesus’ because your humanity will ‘save’ mankind.  Thus, as Jesus, you will die in symbol — we will even have you ‘buried’ in water!  But for the next 3-1/2 years I am going to allow your human nature to be a ‘home’ (so to speak) for something new I will begin in you.  I am going to make A NEW CREATURE out of you.  The 3-1/2 years will serve as a begettal-gestation period for this new creation.  You see, I’m going to make you IMMORTAL as I am, but I cannot afford to do this without a full testing and maturity of what will just begin as a new mind — a new way of thinking — in you.  When this new mind has been fully tested and matured, I will give it a new, immortal body.  Thus, when Jesus, the man, really dies, there WILL be a new creature who can administer the benefits of the life-rights which the forever-dead man Jesus provided.  Thus, you can, indeed, supply the RANSOM and carry through the SIN-OFFERING — applying the benefits which the ransom-price provided.  Meanwhile, your experiences as a man will give you an invaluable appreciation of mankind’s plight so that you will be a wise administrator of his restoration.  Your experiences as an embryo new creature will give you an invaluable appreciation of the costs of sacrifice.  This will be important because I yet have another idea.”  (Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 1:3; 2:18)

The Logos must have been lost in admiration of his Father’s wisdom and love.  And he must have been excited in anticipation of what this “other idea” might add to it all.  “What more can there be?” he asked.  “How can it get any better?”

“I have cherished in My own mind an extraordinary idea, and I see in your SIN-OFFERING the perfect opportunity to implement it,” Yahweh began to explain.  “I want to have a large but intimate family of My own — those who will (so to speak) sit at My table and be My closest confidants.  Just as I will make you immortal, I want to do with them; but immortality must of necessity be thoroughly PRE-TESTED.  In your sin-offering, I see the perfect opportunity for this.  I want all of these new creatures to show that they, like you, have that submissive, humble, obedient, sacrificial, agape-love character.  This is a tall order!  But I know EXACTLY how to accomplish it.” 
(Romans 2:7
;  II Corinthians 5:17;  II Timothy 1:10;  Ephesians 1:4)

Yahweh continued as the Logos listened in awe.  “Once you have become a spirit-born New Creature, I don’t want you to begin restoring Adam and his race right away.  I want you, instead, to EXPLAIN to people of faith what you intend to do.  Take about 2,000 years to do this.  Some will feel called by this magnanimous gesture of yours and want to respond as you did.  I will love this in them.  They will say, ‘Please, let me help!  Let me offer WITH YOU to do away with sin!’  When I see their attitudes, I will accept them as part of this great offering of yours for sin.  They, too, can help in the restoration of Adam’s race.” 
(I Corinthians 15:29
; Acts 3:20, 21)

The Logos politely interrupted, “But how can you do that?  You don’t accept imperfect offerings, and these people will yet be imperfect?”

“I’ve already considered that.  Just listen.  If they have enough faith to believe in what you will accomplish, and if they have enough faith to commit themselves totally to following your lead in total consecration to the idea, then they would have enough faith to reach perfection at the close of your restoring work also.  I’m going to accept in advance THE PERFECT LIFE THEY WOULD ATTAIN.  Thus, they WILL each (because I’m accepting their faith) have a perfect life to offer.  Of course, they, like the man Jesus will never see eternal life as humans; but, as with Jesus’ 3-1/2 years of spirit-begettal, I will begin in these humans NEW CREATURES which, if fully matured, will become, as you will, My new intimate family.  They, with you, will apply the benefits of the ransom-price to mankind.  In other words, they will be part of the offering for sin which you instituted.  (II Corinthians 5:17)

“Do you see the benefits?  They, too, will have been men and will be very sympathetic in the restoration of their former fellow-humans.  And, as I mentioned earlier, your own experiences in the difficulties of sacrifice will allow you to help them through their own sacrificial period as embryo new creatures.  And then you will have brethren!  And I will have a household of immortal sons!”

The Logos was ecstatic!  “I will not be ashamed to call them brethren!  They will have a part in my sin-offering, and all the world will be blessed by us together. 

I will be able to exult, ‘Behold me and the children of God which He has given me — my brethren!’”  (Hebrews 2:10, 11, 13)

 

 

The plan was agreed upon, and during subsequent discussions all kinds of wonderful details were incorporated into it.  Looking forward centuries into the developing family of Adam, God foresaw how He would use men of faith, like Abraham, to picture how God would allow His own son to be an offering.  Abraham’s son, Isaac, was not only to picture Jesus, but also his followers, all of whom together would offer themselves to bless all families of the earth.  (Galatians 3:8, 29)

God determined that Abraham’s natural descendants would also live pictorial lives to help the Isaac class understand its wonderful inheritance.  In the ceremonies depicted in Leviticus 16, God showed how the great offering for sin would be in two parts with a bull showing Jesus’ part and a goat showing the Church’s part — but all offered (as far as Israel could tell) as ONE offering for sin so they could be blessed.

 

 

Even before the great tabernacle types, God arranged to show in the Passover deliverance from Egypt the same wonderful lessons.  He showed that Israel’s freedom (picturing the deliverance of Adam’s race) was totally dependent upon the prior night’s deliverance of the firstborn who (later as Levites) would sacrifice their inheritance in the Promised Land.  (I Corinthians 5:7)

The great SIN-OFFERING doctrine is shown both clearly and subtly throughout the Holy Word.  It never changes.  Its root is the value of the life of the man Jesus whose humanity remains forever dead.  His life-rights, however, will be applied eventually so that all may live — but not before God has made all of the New Creatures who will do the APPLYING of those rights.  These are they who have said, “Please, let me join in offering myself to help do away with sin.”  And God said, “Yes!  I have arranged the way for you to do it.”  (Revelation 5:9, 10;  I Corinthians 15:22)

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