Author: Ron Graham

Wonderful Words

Who Was Paid the Redemption Price?
—No bargain with Satan

In this lesson, we continue thinking about "redemption" and the payment of the price to rescue us from enslavement to Satan. We consider some other aspects concerning the price of redemption, which were not covered in our previous lesson.

When we say "Jesus paid the price of our redemption", we raise the question, "To whom was the redemption price paid?"

1 Price Not Intended to Satisfy Satan

It is very easy to think that the price was paid to Satan —especially when Jesus is spoken of as a "ransom" (Mark 10:45, 1Timothy 2:6). However, if the price (Christ’s death) were paid to Satan, he didn't get to keep it long, because Jesus arose and ascended to heaven. No, the redemption price was not paid to Satan, because he took ownership of us deceitfully and deserves punishment. To reward him would be unjust.

Although we sold ourselves to sin, and thus we belong to Satan, he has no bargaining rights in establishing the price. Nor does he hold any claim to the price. It is not paid to him. God is not interested in satisfying Satan. God is the one who must be satisfied. Besides Satan was not negotiating with God to set us free. God set us free by himself under his own counsel and decree.

If God deems a suitable price has been paid, then God feels justified in cancelling Satan’s claim upon us, regardless of Satan's opposition. How fortunate we are that Satan’s approval is not required!

2 God Deemed the Price Suitable

God saw a suitable price that could be paid for us —the blood of his only begotten Son, and God so loved us that he gave his only begotten Son (John 3:16). The gospel says, "You have been bought with a price" (1Corinthians 6:20, 7:23) and "God purchased the church with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

The heavenly song praises Jesus, "You purchased for God with your blood men from every nation" (Revelation 5:9). As Jesus faced his own death, he spoke of his "blood... shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28).

The Bible says, "Behold the kindness and the severity of God" (Romans 11:22). God’s severity demands that a price be paid. But God’s kindness pays the price for us that we could not find. And such a price!

We use the word "redemption" for this paying of our purchase price. Christ is our "justification, sanctification, and redemption" (1Corinthians 1:30). This redemption, or buying of freedom, is ours by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross. He paid the price for us which we could not give in exchange for our own souls.

3 God Received the Price

Was the ransom price paid to God then? Yes, because the price was a sacrifice and Jesus would never make a sacrifice to Satan, but only to God (Hebrews 9:14). A ransom is usually demanded by someone not entitled to it. This is not so with God. He had to receive a ransom in order to justly decree our release not only from Satan’s hold, but also, and mainly, from God’s condemnation of us who sinfully sold ourselves to Satan.

But that means God was paid for what Satan owned —that doesn't sound right. No, God was paid to cancel punishment because he is the Judge who punishes. Satan is the one doomed to that punishment. He can enslave, but only God can release. The price enables God to justly remove us from that punishment and to rescue us out of Satan’s kingdom into the kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13-14).

The transaction was that, in return for the price paid, God was able to set aside his wrath and extend to us his grace. Therefore Satan (who is under God’s wrath) no longer had any just claim to us (who were now under God’s grace). The price was not a bribe. It was a legal transaction. The death of Christ was a vicarious act —he was "wounded for our transgressions" (Isaiah 53:5)". God accepted his suffering as a substitute for our punishment.

Sure, Satan was the loser in all this. Does anybody care? But in no way did God deal unjustly with Satan.

Now there may be a shock in store for you as we consider one last ramification of God receiving the price of redemption. When Christ redeems us from slavery to sin, God owns us and we become slaves in God’s household. We are freed from sin only to become slaves of God’s righteousness (Romans 6:15-23). It is true, of course, that to be God’s slave is to be free indeed, for God treats his slaves as his adopted children, and makes them his heirs (Romans 8:15-17).