Evangelists have always used the following words when preaching Christ. REDEEM, RECONCILE, RANSOM, SAVE, RESTORE, DELIVER. When pursuing the subject of pre-existence, it suddenly becomes noticeable that these words contain a hidden meaning that is usually overlooked.
Let’s take the word Redeem first. This is the “Pawnbroker’s word”. A man takes his gold watch to the Pawn shop, and obtains a sum of money for it. The Broker holds the watch on trust until the man comes to “redeem” his possession. He has to return the sum of money he received, plus the Broker’s fee. In other words the man has to buy back that which was his former possession.
But this is exactly what our Lord Jesus did at Calvary. He bought back His former possessions, all those who belong to Adam in the human race. The “buying back” attracts the word “redeem.” That is what we mean when we say that we are “redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.” But the important fact now under consideration is that we belonged to the Lord beforehand. It suggests that there was a time when we were not in the sad condition of sin. There was a time when we were not in need of redemption.
Now this will undoubtedly raise ire in some believers, but it cannot be helped. This is virgin territory for many, and it’s necessary to face things squarely and not be afraid. Let me ask a pertinent question. In believing that God is our Creator, are we to say that for all except Adam and Eve, He has createdsinful beings? Or is it that we were created in the beginning as spiritual beings in the heavenlies, as perfect as Adam and Eve, but that God has required us to be born into a sinful world, taking upon ourselves the fallen nature of Adam?
The second word is Reconcile. This is the estranged man’s word. I looked at John Gill’s commentary on Romans 5:10, where the word reconcile occurs. He gave this definition – “Reconciliation implies a former state of friendship, a breach of that friendship, and a making of it up again.” The dictionaries all have the same thrust in their definitions. But Gill never followed through his definition. If reconciliation implies “a former state of friendship” then we must all have been in that condition at some time in the past. Since we were all born in sin, it must therefore logically refer to a timeprior to our earthly sojourn.
The third word is Ransom. This is the terrorist’s word. He has captured someone important and demands a ransom for their release. Once the ransom money is paid, then the man is (hopefully) released. But Christ has ransomed us from the power of Satan. We have been “bought back”, and released from the bondage of the Strong Man. It is therefore necessary to believe there was a time when we had not been “captured”.
The fourth word is Save. This is the drowning man’s word. He has been washed overboard, and is in danger of drowning. A lifeline is thrown to him, and he is hauled back on board. A saved man is a man who was once perfectly safe on board the ship of life, but has fallen into a sinful world. “The creation was made subject to vanity (purposelessness), not willingly (i.e. not by our choice), but by reason of the One who subjected it in hope, because the creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21) This is the answer to those who complain that it is unfair to be born into a sinful state. But it was God’s choice, and He coupled it with strong hope.
The fifth word is Restore. This is the thief’s word. He has stolen some goods, and remains guilty of theft until he restores that which belongs to another. Likewise, we have all been “stolen” by the Enemy of our souls, and he refuses to restore us to our rightful Owner. “The whole world lies in (the power of) the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) But God’s promise is that there will be a full restoration of all that belongs to Him, whether the Enemy agrees to it or not.
The sixth word is Deliver. This is the hostage’s word. The man has been captured by a foe, and locked away in his prison house. But righteous forces besiege the fortress and deliver the captive. Likewise we might have been captured by Evil powers, but the Lord brings deliverance through the power of His Holy Spirit, in what is often called “deliverance ministry.” Once again, it requires that there was a time when we were not captured.
I find that all these words speak forcibly of pre-existence, and I can only marvel at the fact that for over 40 years of my Christian life I never appreciated it!