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We Have An Advocate

Our society is fascinated with the legal system.  We live in one of the most litigious times that the world has ever known.  It seems that anyone can be sued for almost anything.  Moreover, whenever there is some perceived wrong or injustice, someone will say, “There ought to be a law against that!”  Then, of course, our politicians are more than happy to propose new laws to regulate almost everything.  Even in our entertainment, our obsession with the legal system is evident in that almost every new dramatic television program is about lawyers or police.

 

It is unfortunate that there is not an equal interest in the laws of God.  The abundant ignorance and disregard of the laws of God have placed many people at odds with God.  John wrote, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4)  The term “lawlessness” (Gr. anomia, often translated “iniquity”) does not mean that no law is in effect but rather that the given law is openly defied and disregarded.  The adjective form of this word, “lawless” (Gr. anomos), is used to describe the men who crucified Christ (Acts 2:23) and the men who committed indecent acts in Sodom in the days of Lot (2 Pet. 2:8).  Thus, we understand from John that to act without regard for God’s laws and in defiance of God’s laws is what sin really is.

 

People in the world are not the only ones who are guilty of lawlessness, i.e. sin.  Even citizens of the kingdom of God commit sins from time to time.  Regarding this, John reveals that honesty is the best policy for the Christian who has sinned: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

 

So then, is it a Christian’s privilege to sin with immunity so long as he confesses his faults to God?  Certainly not, for John also wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7)  Thus we see that God’s forgiveness of our sins is conditioned upon our “walking in the light”, which is shown here to mean that our daily course of life must be one of godliness and not a habitual pattern of sin.

 

The Christian’s privilege is that he has as Advocate with God.  To further explain, John wrote, “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.  And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2)  The word translated as “Advocate” here is the Greek word Paracletos, which means literally “called to one’s side”.  W.E. Vine says, “It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the defense, and advocate; then, generally, one who pleads another’s cause, an intercessor.”

 

Thus, we see that Jesus is an Advocate for Christians when we violate the laws of God.  He pleads our case, but not as advocates do in the courts of men.  Rather than pleading “not guilty” or trying to find a legal loophole, He offers Himself to the Father as a “propitiation”, which is a means of satisfying or atoning for the sins that we have committed.  He bears the punishment for our guilt.  This is why we can be forgiven and cleansed when we confess our sins.  We bring our sins before the Father, and our Advocate offers propitiation whereby the sins are forgiven and we are cleansed.

 

The sad truth of this is that most of the world does not take advantage of the propitiation that the Lord has offered for them.  Until one enters into fellowship with God through Christ by obeying His gospel, Christ does not act as his Advocate.  Unfortunately, many wait too long to seek Christ as their Advocate, and the opportunity ends with death.  When this life is over, Christ is no longer the Advocate, but He becomes our Judge.  “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds done in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10)  If you would have Christ as your Advocate, now is the time.  Don’t wait until it is too late.

 

Stacey E. Durham




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