The author of 1 John writes simply, “[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” Now and then in the Word, God sums up the gospel in a brief, powerful statement. Here it is again — the three major elements of our salvation: Jesus, His atoning sacrifice, and our sins. Jesus says it Himself, “The Son of Man is not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Jesus calls Himself a “ransom”; the author of 1 John calls Jesus “the atoning sacrifice.”
Today, a “ransom” is paid when someone has taken a child from a family. Today, not many of us fully understand an “atoning sacrifice.”
I gather that theologians wrestle with these concepts — did Jesus pay off Satan? or God? Did He substitute for us on the cross or did He carry away our sins on the cross?
I’m not a theologian. When I read the words “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” and the words I Am come “to give [My] life as a ransom for many” I only know what it means to me — I am not punished because Jesus paid a debt I owe. Whether He paid it to God the Father or to Satan or in some fashion to both, I do not know. I only know I am free from fear.