“For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, Himself human, who gave Himself—a ransom for all, a testimony at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:5–6 HCSB)

Three descriptions of Christ’s role here.  He is a mediator, a ransom, and a testimony to humanity.

  • Mediator – Someone who stands in the middle between two parties, in this case God and humanity.  There is one mediator, not many through the ages, just one.
  • Ransom – To buy back, or to buy out of something like slavery or indebtedness.  Jesus, by his death, was a ransom for all. Tyndale Commentary: “Christ is pictured as an ‘exchange price’ on behalf of and in the place of all, on the grounds of which freedom may be granted. Yet not all enjoy that freedom. The ransom, it is true, has infinite value, but the benefits require appropriation.”
  • Testimony – A witness or testimony to something.  Paul is very succinct here so we can’t be sure what he means by testimony.  The Tyndale Commentary thinks: “It is best to assume that ‘the testimony’ intended is God’s act in sending his Son at the appointed time (cf. Gal. 4:4).”

Perhaps the most important point here is that for a ransom to take place it must be appropriated, it must be used.  Jesus’ ransom of me is of no benefit unless I appropriate the ransom, or yield, or surrender and turn from sin to follow him as Lord and Master.