In this Lenten season, I love to purposefully reflect on the cross of Christ. Recently, I heard a speaker pose the question: Who set the ransom for our souls? She considered the fact that in human kidnappings, it is the kidnapper who sets the ransom.
This set my mind to thinking. Did Satan set the ransom? Who decided that the only way to redeem the souls of men was for Jesus Christ to come of the seed of woman, be betrayed, condemned, handed over to the Gentiles, mocked and spit on, flogged and killed, then three days later be raised to life (Mark 10:33-34).
I have always believed that it was God who set the price for the souls of men. I believed it was His Holy nature that set the price. I love The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. There is a lesson on this subject after Aslan (the Christ figure) rose from the dead. The children were very sad when Aslan was dead and when he rose from the dead they were filled with joy. Yet, they had an intriguing question for Aslan. They wondered, Why didn't you tell us that you would rise from the dead? Aslan answered that there had been an ancient rule since the beginning of time that one who is righteous could die for the sins of all, but that the rule had never been tested. This was C.S. Lewis’ way of explaining his belief that it was God Himself who set the ransom before the creation of the world.
I've got to agree with C.S. Lewis. I know that God would never create us with free will to turn against Him without a plan for us to return to Him with that same free will. In the garden, God told Satan what the ransom would be. In Genesis 3:15 He explained that from the seed of woman there would come an offspring who would crush his head. Satan didn't offer God a chance to redeem the likes of men. Satan didn't have that power over us. God didn't create a universe where those He loved could be held for a ransom. He didn't give Satan a ransom for us. He redeemed us for Himself. Satan gains nothing from the redemption. In fact, Satan is utterly defeated because of the price God paid through the blood of Jesus Christ.
The speaker’s opinion did help me dig deeper into my appreciation of God’s sovereignty. I know that God has chosen to leave us with many mysteries in this life. I can only believe that this is because of His love and care for us. He knows that in our finite being we cannot comprehend the mysterious truths of love and perfect holiness. He reveals what we can comprehend and invites us to trust Him with the unknowable.
The cold hard fact is that He knows. He knew that Adam and Eve would eventually make that choice. He knew that the choice would send His only Son to a Cross. He knew, and it was worth creating us anyway. Before the foundation of the world, God Himself set the ransom for your soul!