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Col 1:14 - In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Redemption , from the Greek ‘apolytrōsis, (‘Strongs Lexicon: G729- Liberation procured by the payment of a ransom’)

My question is, who demanded a ransom? We are seeking exegetical evidence. That is, not just ‘who’, but where do we see this in the Bible.

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  • Great question, and not as easy as I thought. Well worth the read, starting on Ch. 2, p. 79. – Der Übermensch Jul 12 '20 at 17:58
  • This question has answers. And, the answers are foundational to much theology and many doctrines. But it also seems (so far) this question can not be answered exegetically? Maybe I should re-word my question? ....... “Looking at the whole bible, we can draw conclusions. So can this question ‘ Who is the Ransom for?’ only be answered by such conclusions?” – Dave Jul 12 '20 at 22:34
  • It can be answered exegetically, without a doubt. Probably take me a week to do so. I'll put it on the to do list. – Der Übermensch Jul 12 '20 at 22:50
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The word 'ransom' never appears in holy scripture, as such.

There is a word lutron which occurs twice, both times used by Jesus who, both times, precedes it by the word anti which is not the same as our English prefix 'anti'. The Greek anti conveys 'in correspondence to' not 'against' or 'in opposition to'.

The best analogy I have ever come across is the concept of prosecution and defence in a court of law. Not as to adversarial law, combating in court with oratory. But in a proper court where prosecution and defence are setting out the two corresponding sets of real evidence.

A type of mirror image but not (as mirror images are not) identical.

So, Jesus twice says anti lutron.

... the Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for many. [Matthew 20:28, KJV]

... the Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for many. [Mark 10:45, KJV]

In both cases Jesus says lutron anti, that is to say a lutron in correspondence of many.

The basis of lutron is luo, which does not mean 'loose' as many seem to think. The concept is very broad and covers such things as John being unworthy to remove his shoes, Jesus dismissing a crowd after preaching and the act of breaking the sabbath.

My understanding of the broad concept is the concept of 'dispossession'. 'Loosing' or delivering' is, sometimes, involved but in the context of redemption it is important to realise that what is in view is lawful dispossession.

In the book of Ruth this is set forth by Ruth and Boaz and the inheritance. Boaz gathers elders in the gate and publicly buys both the field and takes 'possession' of Ruth (in the sense of taking responsibility for her and her problem of inheritance which requires a marriage).

The whole is a matter of lawful dispossession (the man with one shoe is dispossessed) and Boaz takes proper and lawful possession and responsibility.

Paul takes up the words used by Jesus and he makes it into one word antilutron :

... Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all [I Timothy 2:6 KJV]

Here, Paul speaks of the correspondence of Jesus' life in accordance with (or, in behalf of, it is huper) that humanity which is under his headship. The 'all', in context, refers to that for which he mediates.

Jesus previously spoke of the Son of man being a lutron corresponding to 'many'.

These three references are all that are in scripture, that are commonly translated 'ransom'.

Lutron belongs to a family of words : luo, apoluo, lusis, lutrosis and apolutrosis which, together convey the concept of redemption.

I can find no justification, myself for using the English word 'ransom' in this case. A ransom, after all is a bribe, no more and no less. One bribes a kidnapper to accept money in exchange for releasing the kidnapped.

This is not a proper and lawful dispossession.

If one examines all the scriptures concerned there is not a single case in which the concept of the kidnapped being 'ransomed' occurs. And many get into trouble with trying to figure who the ransom is paid to. Some imagine slaves being auctioned in the 'marketplace' but the fact is that the Agora is not a marketplace.

The Agora is more of a Bourse. It is the public area in which public transactions are lawfully carried out before witnesses. Such as buying land. Or such as probate after a decease. See, again, Boaz in the gate with the elders, carrying out a lawful transaction before trusted witnesses.

These concepts have traditionally been muddled. And the muddle is not helpful to competent, intelligent understanding of concept.

I suggest that lutron conveys 'the means of deliverance'. It is that which 'corresponds' to the necessary dispossession of the item in question. Someone has possession of an item and their possession of it is quite lawful. They did not steal it. They did not kidnap. Their possession of it is quite proper in the eyes of the law.

The Redeemer must lawfully and properly :

  • 1 dispossess the owner of the item - negate their lawful possession of it

  • 2 secure the item in their own possession

  • 3 provide a permanent place of safety to ensure no further loss

These three aspects, together, constitute redemption as it is set forth in scripture.

It is an extensive subject and also brings in the agora- words agorazo and exagorazo.

Which would require another question.

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  • We extracted the word ‘ransom’ from the Greek meaning of ‘redemer’, which your answer defines very well. However, not sure I can accept that ‘A ransom, after all is a bribe’. The way I understand it, This doesn’t ‘fit’ redeemer. You ‘redeem’, you get something back. Nevertheless your answer is beginning to clarify some thing for me. At lot. You say ‘dispossess the owner of the item’. Jesus came to disposes an owner of something. That something is ‘us’. So who owned ‘us’? Surely that’s who gets the ransom. Thanks – Dave Jul 14 '20 at 20:11
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    @Dave Righteousness demands a death. And he gave his life as a lutron - a means of deliverance. A correspondence in respect of many. It is his death that is in view. – Nigel J Jul 14 '20 at 20:34
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    So, although ‘apolytrōsis’ can imply ‘Ransom’, your argument that I should not be using this particular meaning is convincing. So then would the question have been better worded something along the lines of ‘Who did we need to be redeemed from?’ In the end, both questions would lead to the same answer. And, the exegesis may support a better interpretation for ‘apolytrōsis’. Or, are you recommending an edit? – Dave Jul 14 '20 at 23:44
  • apolutrosis means redemption. But one needs to be aware of the depth of meaning within it. But that is another question. – Nigel J Jul 15 '20 at 1:17
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Who demands a ransom? The law of sin and death requires a sacrifice for sin - God made the rules, so God does. if He wants to redeem His broken creation, He must provide a solution - according to the rules.

The adversary (aka devil) would rightly mock the righteous, holy, true God if He were to 'bend' the rules to have His own way over evil. While it is feasible for God to 'snap His fingers' and pardon everyone - it would be against His own rules - it would be a fake salvation. God would know it, the devil would know it, and salvation would be poorer for it.

The devil would have one on God - at last!

That Jesus was 'foreknown' by God before the world began is a sign that God knew what He was doing to re-orient creation from what would be a terrible mess - at first. A mess was a forgone conclusion by putting the devil in the garden to begin with. BUT, there was a plan to right it all and overcome evil permanently.

The first Adam/human failed, the second Adam/human - it was hoped, would not!

Enough preamble.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 6:23

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead Rom 7:4

the Law is spiritual Rom 7:14

Who condemns sinners? The devil does - he knows the law is spiritual and we unable to keep it - because we fight against spiritual powers etc - we can never win - were never intended to. That's why Christ was 'foreknown' to be who he would be and do what he would do according to every prophecy about him and God's plan of salvation.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit Rom 8:1-4

For God to accomplish salvation, there must be a sacrifice to cover the penalty of the law - death. Of course, we can all offer our own sacrifice for ourselves - but we would remain dead!

So far Satan wins. There is never any chance that a man could be reborn into the spiritual kingdom (flesh and blood cannot enter)

But one who could live without sin - tempted in battle with the devil himself, could die as a sacrifice and live again. And by God's grace, we are included in him and live again.

The devil has to be ok with that - he can no longer condemn those made righteous. Blood has been spilt, life has been given - and death has no power anymore. Satan has no power anymore. It was a fair fight and he lost to the son of God - the second/last Adam/human.

God's grace did not air-brush the law, He paid the required penalty of the law - death through His human son.

God could put His spirit in people so they had special abilities and desires to do good, but they could never live again and enter the kingdom.

Most of Romans walks through the process of being included in Christ and how it works. We are also foreknown as the plan was already in place and working perfectly!

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Rom 8:29

God and Jesus have beaten evil by love - not by unfair play or pulling rank like a bully. The devil is silenced. All that's left is to throw a few tantrums until the end draws near.


Two other points that relate to this

  1. God is never angry about the sacrifice for sin - whether it be an animal or His own son. He takes no delight in the blood spilt or the life given and places the blame with the devil.
  2. There is no explicit biblical explanation of HOW atonement works- we have enough to believe that it does and who it is through - He grants the faith for that to be enough for salvation to occur. There are many things not fully explained - this is one. There is little advantage to speculation not firmly founded on the Word, and in fact we are warned against it.

God has said what He has said - and NOT said what He hasn't - there be wisdom in that!

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  • Your answer demonstrates eisegetics. That is, you are reading into text. Example, Quoting you ..’in other words’. Here is another way of asking the original question taking something from further down your answer. You use the verse that says the wages of sin is death. We want to see another verse(s) that shows who those wages are paid to. – Dave Jul 12 '20 at 18:37
  • re last line of comment. the wages (what is DUE as a result of our deeds etc.) are what we pay to God. As I said, 'we can offer ourselves' and the wages due have been paid. In His wisdom, God has decreed all guilty/sinner before they breathed their first breath, so that falls to the 'deeds' of Adam. – user48152 Jul 12 '20 at 21:38
  • So God pays the ransom to himself??? – Dottard Jul 12 '20 at 23:54
  • that's ridiculous - how do you figure that? He insists on the ransom. We PAY the PENALTY, or Christ PAYS the RAMSOM on our behalf. – user48152 Jul 13 '20 at 0:03
  • That is not quite right. We find that the LORD God redeemed us presumably by paying a ransom to Himself?? Ex 24:18, 15:15, Luke 1:68, 1 Chron 17:21, Ps 31:5, 2 Sam 7:23, etc – Dottard Jul 13 '20 at 0:11

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