22 December, 2019

Mark 10:45—“the Son of man came … to give his life a ransom for many”

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

According to hypothetical universalists, or those who hold that Christ died for everybody, the “many” that Christ mentions in the text are simply “representative of all without exception, including those who die in their sins.”


David J. Engelsma

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 51, no. 2 (April 2018), p. 81]

[To read “many” as really meaning “everyone without exception”] entails perversion of the very nature of the death of Christ! For Christ calls His death a “ransom.” A ransom is the payment of a price for the deliverance of those ransomed. If Christ’s death was a ransom for all humans without exception, all humans without exception must be delivered from Satan, sin, and death, unless the ransom, that is, the cross of Christ was unavailing … In addition, Mark 10:45 is even stronger than the English translation would indicate. The preposition in the text is literally, “in the stead of”: “… a ransom in the stead of many” (Greek: anti). The text teaches the substitutionary nature of the death of Christ. He died as the substitute for many. If now … many for whom Christ died as the substitute will yet themselves eternally die as slaves of Satan and sin, that is, perish in hell, Christ could not have been the substitute for sinners. Thus, the very nature of the death of Christ, as taught by the Savior Himself, is denied [by those who wish to read “many” as really meaning “all without exception”].

In truth, Mark 10:45 is clear, convincing testimony to the limited or particular, extent of the atonement of Christ: “[effectual] ransom in the stead of many [all of whom are efficaciously ransomed and saved, unless the ransom was no ransom at all].”



More to come! (DV)

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