The immediate past Chairman of The Church of Pentecost, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah (Retired) has said that the death of Jesus Christ is God’s ultimate intervention (ransom) to redeem mankind from sin and death.
He, however, stressed that only those who accept Him as their Lord and personal Saviour would benefit from His vicarious death on the cross.
“Jesus died so that we might live. Here, the emphasis is on the auxiliary verb ‘might.’ What this means is that although Christ came to die for all humankind, not all humans will take advantage of His death. However, whoever believes in Him will be saved. So, the gift of eternal life is there for you, but you need to accept Him,” he said.
The former Chairman said this on Saturday, April 11, 2020, when he delivered a message titled: “Jesus Christ, Our Ransom” during a televised Holy Saturday Service on Pent TV and Atinka TV as part of the ongoing Easter Convention of The Church of Pentecost. The foundational texts for his message were Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28.
Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah, a revered theologian, explained that a ransom is the price paid to redeem something or someone who is indebted, but is unable to redeem himself. Ransom is, therefore, the price of release and it is made in exchange for something.
He indicated that Jesus is the true ransom of God for mankind, but in the Old Testament, God painted a picture of what God intended to do.
Elaborating on God’s ransom for humans in the Old Testament, he said that when Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God through the influence of the serpent (the devil), He pronounced a curse on them and passed the sentence of death on all humanity (Genesis 3:15-20).
“God placed enmity between the serpent and the woman (and her offspring). That is why the devil is only here to steal, kill and destroy. He becomes happy when children of God are suffering. This is because the hostility between the devil and humans persists. As part of the curse pronounced on the serpent, the serpent would strike the heel of the woman, but her ‘seed’ will crush his head, and this seed is Jesus.
“To Adam, God said: ‘Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil, you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you will return.’ Therefore, because of man, creation was cursed; as a result, all creation is suffering and groaning, and this will continue until our Lord Jesus comes for the second time,” he explained.
After what happened, he noted, Adam and Eve made temporary coverings for themselves using fig leaves but that was deceptive. He stated that the leaves of the fig tree was a symbol of false hope because it could not effectively serve as a covering. “This was the same reason why Jesus cursed the fig tree that had not borne fruit because it had given them false hope,” he said, adding, “Our God is not happy about false hopes, our only hope is in the Lord so God provided a garment of skin for Adam and Eve by taking the life of an animal. The animal that was killed was a ransom and it was painting a picture of what our Lord Jesus Christ would do in the future.”
Another demonstration of God’s ransom for mankind he pointed out was the Passover story in Exodus 12:1-14.
Narrating the story, the former Chairman said that the Lord heard the cry of the Israelites while serving as slaves in Egypt. They cried for help and God sent Moses to deliver them. However, the King of Egypt, Pharoah, was unwilling to part ways with the Israelites. As a result, the Lord did a lot of signs and wonders in the form of plagues, sufferings and diseases to coerce the Egyptians to set the Israelites free.
This, according to him, was because Pharoah chose to harden his heart and God strengthened it so that He will be able to paint another picture of His redemptive plan for mankind.
Dwelling on the last plague which led to the death of all firstborns of the Egyptians, Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah explained that before the plague took place the Lord instructed the Israelites to kill a lamb with no defect and smear its blood on their doorposts so that each household will live (Exodus 12:12-14).
“First, the lamb without blemish was a representation of Christ. Secondly, the Israelites needed to apply the blood because, like the Egyptians, they also deserved death but were only spared by the blood of Lamb (Jesus). Likewise, all of us have sinned and deserve death, but we are only going to be saved by faith through the blood of Jesus. He died so that we might live, so Jesus is our ransom,” he explained.
He added: “This did not mean that the Lord loved the Israelites more than the Egyptians, but He is a faithful Judge and anyone who disobeys Him, He punishes.”
The former Chairman further noted that, in the appointed time, Jesus came down to the earth through a virgin birth; and He, who had no sin or fault in Him, died to pay the price for mankind’s disobedience.
Comparing the Passover to the current partial lockdown directive in the country, he noted that the Passover was a form of lockdown for the people of Israel because they were all to remain indoors. Consequently, if anyone came out, he would be killed because they would no longer be under the covering of the blood.
“We must, therefore, be obedient to the lockdown directive given to us by our leaders. Let us not take it for granted. Even today, when it is time for the Passover festival, the Israelites stay indoors and share the story about how God delivered them from Egypt.
“So, while we remain indoors due to the lockdown, we must also share the story of our redemption and salvation with our household and tell our children how Jesus has become a ransom for us,” he advised.
Apostle Prof. Opoku Onyinah concluded his exposition by urging Christians to be prepared to endure sufferings as they anticipate the Second Coming of Christ to complete the work of their redemption. He, however, recommended that during such difficult times they should always seek the assistance of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27), put their trust in the love of God (Romans 8:28-30) and be assured that nothing (not even death) can separate them from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
This year’s Easter Convention, which is under the theme: “Jesus Christ Died That I Might Live” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10), is also being streamed live on the official Facebook page of The Church of Pentecost (@thecophq).