“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us”.
Over the last few months the world has unfortunately been given several horrific examples of what happens when a ransom is not paid. Kidnapping for a ransom is nothing new and over the years there are accounts of lives being spared when a ransom is paid and sadly far more deaths when it was not. Kidnapping is a risk that one takes when traveling in many parts for the world, and because it has the potential of being a lucrative business the United States, as well as most mission agencies have a no ransom policy. In other words, despite all the United States’ resources, if an American citizen gets kidnapped there will be no ransom paid for their release.
The mission agency that my parents served with had a no ransom policy, and we lived with that reality through the ups and downs of Africa’s political turmoil. As an adult this was exceptionally difficult when they lead a team into war-torn Mozambique after the fall of the Marxist regime when rebel militia still controlled much of the country side. In those days it was standard procedure to have a military escort when traveling from city to city. The thought of my parents being held hostage for ransom with no hope for freedom was terrifying.
Yet, at one point in history there was what appeared to be an impossible situation where all of humanity was taken captive with a ransom too costly for any to afford. From every perspective it appeared to be an impossible predicament. However the situation was never out of control and before it ever occurred there was plan for the ransom to be paid in full. To get a better picture, let’s back up and take a look at this human captivity that demanded such a high ransom.
Scripture teaches that sin is the master who holds humanity captive. Humanity is both polluted by sin and a slave to it. In fact “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23 – ESV). Unfortunately, the picture gets worse because humanity is so ingrained in their slavery to sin that they didn't, and still don’t want to be free of it. The good news is that despite their spiritual deadness  and desire to stay in captivity, God graciously paid a ransom “not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18b–19).
But it gets better! Beyond Christ purchasing redemption (paying the ransom) to free His people from their captivity to sin, He also forgives them for that sin. Remember they cooperated and supported our captor! Christ rescued a people who did want to be rescued and He still forgave them. That is a remarkable picture of grace! Note well, when Paul writes that this forgiveness is “according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us” (Ephesians 1:7-8a). Think about that! This is no small amount of grace! Christ is exceptionally wealthy, He has an inexhaustible abundance. . . He is rich in grace! But it gets better! Unlike many of great wealth, Christ doesn’t hoard His grace, nor does He ration it. Instead He lavishes it super abundantly on His children! So much so that Paul writes “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20b).
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, that is really good news. It is free and you are free too!