Friday, February 16, 2024

The Vision (2.16.24): We have an Advocate


Image: Ruins of the Library of Celsus in ancient Ephesus, Turkey.

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 2:1-6.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

John addresses the recipients of this letter as “my little children” (cf. 1 John 2:12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21). He has been their spiritual father, and they are children of God by the new birth (John 1:12-13).

To what end does he write? “that ye sin not.” John was not expecting perfectionism from the saints (cf. 1 John 1:8-10). He knew that on this side of the kingdom they would not be fully sanctified, but he wanted them to live victorious Christian lives in which they were no longer bound by the old ways of sin.

He also knew that in this life, with all their remaining corruptions, they would continue to come short of God’s glory, but when they did, he did not want them to be crushed by this but instead to realize that provision had been made for them.

So he continues, “And if any man [Christian man, believer] sin, we [believers] have an advocate with the Father….” The word rendered as “advocate” in Greek is paraklētos. It means a spokesman, an intercessor, a helper, a comforter.

Four times in the Gospel of John Christ used this term in reference to the Holy Spirit, and it is translated there as “Comforter” (see John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).

Paul likewise speaks of the Spirit in this way, describing the Comforter as one who helps us in our infirmities when we don’t know how to pray, and who makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26).

In 1 John 2:1, however, the apostle John applies that term not to the Spirit but to Christ. Not only does the Spirit help us in our prayers, but so does Christ himself. He goes before the Father when we sin and serves as our advocate before the Father. We might imagine his advocacy for us before the Father as perhaps like this:

Father, remember, that this redeemed sinner is but dust.

O Father you have saved this man and promised to sanctify him.

O Father, remember that my blood was shed to satisfy thy wrath and for the forgiveness of this man’s sins.

When we sin and we are burdened down by it, John said that we are to remember that we have an Advocate with the Father who is “Jesus Christ, the righteous.” The word “righteous” is there to remind us that while we are sinners, our Advocate is without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The apostle Paul likewise declares that Christ is able to save “to the uttermost” those who come to the Father by him, “seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Christ is our Advocate!

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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