A QUESTION CONCERNING THE RANSOM.
"SUPPOSE that some one held, as a doctrine, that Christ during the Gospel age is giving the ransom for the Church and expiating her sins; and that during the Millennial age he will give a ransom for the world and expiate its sins: Would it be right or truthful if I, in speaking of such a teaching, were to say of it--'It claims that our Lord is now making the ransom, that ever since his ascension he has been expiating the sins of the world in heaven, and that the work of ransoming will not be finished until the end of the Millennial age?'--Please answer in the TOWER, as it is claimed that I thus misrepresented this latest no-ransom theory."
In reply: It is our judgment that you stated the matter most fairly: more reasonably than the party you mention stated himself. What nonsense it is to talk about ransoming the [R1590 : page 312] Church and expiating her sins during the Gospel age. After we are accepted of God, in Christ, to be his Church, we need no ransoming, having no sins to expiate. It was while we were yet sinners [children of wrath, even as others,--parts of the world] that Christ died for us, and by the one sacrifice of himself once for all, expiated the sins of all the ungodly. (Rom. 5:6,8; Heb. 10:12.) He is a propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. --1 John 2:2.
The suggestion that Christ will be a satisfaction for the sins of the Church during this age, and will be such for the world during the Millennial age is a portion of outer darkness, so thick and dense that it is not likely to mislead any who give ear to the voice of the Shepherd in the Word. He is our propitiation, and the propitiation for all the world besides, ever since the great sacrifice was ended and the Ransomer cried, "IT IS FINISHED."
To this the Apostle also attests, saying: By one sacrifice he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified,--all; and this will include all [R1590 : page 313] that ever will come unto God by him,--whether they come during this age or during the next age.--Heb. 10:14.
But such nonsense is not worthy of the name of "teaching:" it violates logic, contradicts reason, and wrests the Scriptures. Reason and logic would ask, What is Christ doing, during the Gospel age or what will he do throughout the Millennial age to expiate sin? What is he now giving and what will he give during the Millennial age as a ransom for mankind? The Bible answers that it knows of nothing that remains to do, or to be given, to meet man's penalty; --that all has been done;--that the man Christ Jesus [more than eighteen centuries ago] gave himself a RANSOM [a corresponding price, a substitute] for ALL.--1 Tim. 2:6.
But this correct reasoning will not convince those to whom you refer; because, to suit a theory, they have attached a new meaning to the words ransom and expiate. They use these words, improperly, to mean deliver or release. But only those thoroughly blinded to the commonest kind of common sense, or thoroughly ignorant of the common words of the English language could make such a blunder.
That neither ransom nor expiate means release or deliver can be easily proved. We quote from Webster's Dictionary:
"Ransom. To redeem from captivity, punishment or forfeit, by paying an equivalent; to buy out of servitude or penalty; to rescue [by giving a ransom]; to deliver [by giving a ransom] as, to ransom prisoners from an enemy.
"Expiation. The act of making satisfaction for an offence; atonement; satisfaction."
The party to whose teachings you refer claims to be a believer in the ransom; but from this you see he does not believe in it. He is therefore not a Christian Brother--not one of the sheep, in any sense, because it is this faith in Christ's death as our ransom sacrifice, and naught else, that justifies sinners, renders them, at consecration, acceptable as the Lord's sheep. To believe a stone to be bread will not render it nutritious and life-giving: neither will believing deliverance to be the ransom, the expiation of our guilt justify such a believer. God will not be mocked by any such miserable twisting of language; neither will any of the sheep who heed the Shepherd's words and prove all that they receive as truth and hold fast only that which stands the proof. And this subject of the ransom is most important of all, because it is the standard by which all faith and all doctrines are to be proved true or false.
The grand results or effects of the ransom given, once for all, eighteen centuries ago, will be DELIVERANCE: partial deliverance to God's saints, now, from Sin, the great enslaver, --full deliverance to the faithful of the same class at the end of this Gospel age. Its grand results or effects will ultimately be extended to all the families of the earth, in that it will secure to all a full opportunity for deliverance from Sin and Death, upon similar conditions to ours (faith and obedience), but under the more favorable circumstances of the Millennial age. But to have faith in a deliverance and to call it the ransom is not a proper or saving faith: it proves on the contrary that those who so hold do not believe in the real ransom sacrifice finished at Calvary.
Our advice to all readers is that when once they have proved any teacher (or journal, or book) to be wrong on this important doctrine, the foundation of all Christian faith, they need do no more proving there; for if the foundation is bad, the entire structure built thereupon must be pernicious,--dangerous. Have nothing more to do with such teacher (or book or journal). You may be sure that God did not send him to you as his mouth-piece, else he would have seen to it, first, that he had the correct foundation.