Silver Coins, Ransom, and You!
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Silver coins, ransom, and YOU! What is the connection?
Let's begin with silver coins. Silver coins have had value for over 2,600 years. Their use was first recorded around 600 BC in the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor. These earliest coins were made of electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. The popularity of silver coins spread to surrounding areas with the minting of the Greek stater and drachma and the Roman denarius.
Since then, silver coins have been minted in various parts of the world. People in India have had their rupee, Ottomans had their akçe, Arabians had dirhams, and people in England have had their sceatta and penny. Beginning in 1500 AD, large thaler-type coins were used in areas of Europe. Perhaps you have heard of one of the most popular of these which was the eight Real Spanish dollar, also called the “piece of eight.”
In the early United States, the Coinage Act of 1792 established a national mint in Philadelphia which minted silver half dimes, dimes, quarters, half dollars, and one dollar coins based on the Spanish dollar. The mint also produced coins of gold and copper.
So there’s a short history of silver coins. Now—where does ransom tie in?
Silver and other precious metal coins have been used for many purposes throughout history, and one important purpose has been for the payment of ransom. Some well-known captives have been freed when ransom was paid for them. These include Julius Caesar, who, according to the historian Plutarch, was captured by Cilician pirates in 75 BC; English King Richard the Lionhart, caught when returning from the Third Crusade around 1190 AD and later held by Emperor Henry VI; and finally, author Miguel de Cervantes, captured by Barbary pirates and enslaved in Algiers from 1575-1580 AD.
So what exactly is ransom? According to Webster's Dictionary, various words can be used when defining “ransom.” These include “to save, pardon, to redeem (or ‘buy back’), to atone for, and to release from bondage by payment.” In Old English law, ransom described a payment required for the pardon of some great offense and sometimes paid to avoid capital punishment.
Now this is where YOU come into the picture!
The Bible uses several of these same words when telling of the ransom payment required for something very important and valuable—YOU and YOUR SOUL!
In Matthew 16:26, Jesus Christ asks, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Ransom payment for your soul is necessary because, as humans, we are all held captive by the power and penalty of sin. The Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:2), and “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), “and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15). This is speaking of eternal death, which is also called “the second death” in Revelation 20:14. God, who is holy, cannot just ignore the sin problem and He cannot just ignore the sin that is in each of us.
The ransom payment required to rescue us from the captivity of our sin is too high for us to pay. The Bible tells us that even “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious)” (Psalm 49:6-8).
The Bible also tells us that there is only one Redeemer who is worthy to provide the ransom for our souls, and this one is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Nor can we earn this ransom payment by trying to be worthy and doing good deeds because it is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he has saved us” (Titus 3:5).
God’s mercy is the GOOD NEWS! This Good News is called the “glorious gospel of Christ” (Il Corinthians 4:4), and it is written in the Bible for us.
The gospel tells of God’s great love for each of us. In I John 4:10, we are told, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation [atonement] for our sins.”
Romans 5:8 declares that “God commendeth [showed] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The gospel tells that Jesus Christ paid the ransom for us. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15) and so “gave himself a ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:6a).
This he did when he died on the cross as our sinless substitute. I Peter 3:18 declares, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”
In doing this “our Savior Jesus Christ … gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:13-14). Because of his sacrifice, Jesus is the only one “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).
The Bible explains that God has offered this divine ransom payment as a free gift to each of us. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast” and in Romans 6:23, “… the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
However, this awesome gift is not automatically applied to our need. It must be accepted and received by faith, for the Bible says that we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1-2 also Romans 3:22). Having saving faith means believing that what God has shown us in the Bible is the truth, based on God's authority and truthfulness. By faith, we believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4). By faith, we believe that God has the power to do what He has promised, and by faith, we believe that God will give us the divine gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ and new life in our Savior.
Jesus Christ directs us in Mark 1:15 to “repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
Repenting means having a deep heart and mind change toward God and His truth. This happens when we realize the seriousness of our own sin before our holy God and when we recognize the eternal penalty for our own sin, which is judgment and death.
Believing the gospel is when we accept that the gospel is God's one and only solution to our sin problem (I Corinthians 15:3-4).
The gospel can be summed up in John 3:16, when Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
“Whosoever” can be YOU if you choose to accept the greatest ransom payment ever given—the ransom payment for your soul!
The choice is YOURS! Will you choose just to leave things as they have always been between you and God, OR will you repent and believe the gospel—the GOOD NEWS—today?
Remember that when you choose to come to God for forgiveness and salvation, there are not certain “magic words” that you say. God is looking at your heart, and the words that you pray to the Lord simply reflect this. Tell Him that you repent, and that you believe and accept His gospel for YOU! By doing so, you will receive the most precious Gift ever given!