Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life… But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.
How costly was the ransom that God paid to redeem us! Psalm 49 states how impossibly high the cost of redemption is: “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” Our sin is to great, to horrible, to abhorrent to God, for any payment we could render to even come close to sufficing. We are the ten thousand talent debtor, owing a thousand lifetimes of payment to the King. We could never pay, never hope to justify ourselves. Even our feeble attempts at morality only add to our debt, for “all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags” and “whatever is not from faith is sin.” Not only can we never pay our ransom, but every attempt at payment only adds to our debt.
But now, in the face of this impossible debt, see the prodigal extravagance of God! The king freely releases the ten thousand talent debtor of his debt; he is free to now go and do the same. No man can ransom another or give to God the price of his life, but God will ransom my soul from the power of the grave. God pays the impossible ransom at an impossibly high cost: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” Gold and silver will eventually crumble to dust, and could not pay the high price demanded. So God put forth something infinitely more valuable: the precious blood of His precious Son. He has paid the ransom; His perfect life and death was sufficient to forgive all our sins and guarantee our entrance into eternal life. God has “forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
Holy Spirit, Help me daily to flee from my own attempts at self-ransom and to flee to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, who has forever paid my ransom for me. Thank you, Father, for Your inexpressibly wonderful love to me, a poor debtor. You have nailed my debt to the cross, forgiven all my sin, and raised me up with Jesus so that in the coming ages You might show me the incomparable riches of Your kindness to me. What love!
“The deeper [a Christian’s] apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin which remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it.” ~John Murray