In today’s world, we mostly use the word ransom in connection with kidnapping. The kidnapper has taken a hostage and demands a ransom. When I read that God “paid a ransom” to buy me back from sin, it bothered me. A lot. If God is all-powerful, how can Satan have Him over a barrel, demanding a ransom in order to return me to my rightful Master? Was I kidnapped by Satan so that he could manipulate…GOD? The God of the universe is surely above being exploited by one of His created beings!
Of course, the problem is in the continual evolution of language. Though the word ransom today implies coercion and a forced payment, a better analogy would be one that was more common a few centuries ago–the indentured servant.
There were many people who found themselves indebted to the point of no return and essentially sold themselves as slaves in order to fulfill that debt. Once in that system, it was not uncommon to find that there was no way out–the debt was simply too huge to be paid. The only way to find liberty again would be if some good master had mercy and, after paying for you, set you free.
I was in a similar situation. There was a debt of sin that surrounded me, towered above me…more than I could ever pay for. And God in His mercy bought me. And set me free.
The ransom wasn’t demanded. God was not bullied or intimidated. He simply saw my need, my helplessness. And He set me free. Not because He was forced, but because of His kind mercy.
God, who owns all riches, gave His most precious possession, His Son, the biggest ransom ever paid,