Sermons

Summary: 1) The believers’ Defense Attorney (1 John 2:1b)and 2) The Perfect Propitiation for their sins (1 John 2:2).

This week, the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi began with emotional testimony from a woman who said the disgraced former CBC star punched her in the head during an evening at his Toronto home in 2003. Mr. Ghomeshi is facing four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance, choking, related to incidents in 2002 and 2003. The allegations come from three women. Each count of sexual assault carries a sentence of up to 18 months, while the choking charge could carry a life sentence. At trial, the disgraced broadcaster's defence lawyer was suggesting the first woman to testify against him was lying. (https://ca.news.yahoo.com/jian-ghomeshi-sexual-assault-trial-set-begin-toronto-090021015.html)

Yet above all other court proceedings is a cosmic courtroom drama that dwarfs all human trials in scope and severity. God the Father is the Judge (Gen. 18:25; Ps. 7:11; Heb. 12:23), Satan is the accuser (Zech. 3:1; Rev. 12:10; cf. Job 1:9–11; 2:4–5), and every person who ever lived is on trial. The issue is how unjust sinners can be justified before a holy God. All those standing before the bar of divine justice are guilty of violating God’s holy law; they “are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one’ ” (Rom. 3:9–10), and “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10). The just sentence the divine court should hand down is eternal punishment in hell, “for the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But all is not hopeless for the guilty, because there is one more character to consider in this divine courtroom scene: the Lord Jesus Christ. He acts as the Advocate, or Defense Attorney, for all those who believe savingly in Him. He is a most unusual defense attorney, however, since He does not maintain His clients’ innocence, but rather acknowledges their guilt. Nonetheless, He has never lost a case—and never will (John 6:39; cf. Rom. 8:29–30). Using the language of the courtroom, Paul declared, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:33–34; cf. Col. 2:13–14). That last phrase is the key to how the Lord Jesus Christ infallibly wins acquittal for those who put their faith in Him. He intercedes with the Father on the basis of His own substitution for sinners in sacrificial death, which fully paid sin’s penalty for all who trust Him for salvation, thus meeting the demands of God’s justice. Because “He … did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for [them] all” (Rom. 8:32) and “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on [their] behalf, so that [they] might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21), God “justified [them] freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24, nkjv). The result of the divine verdict is that believers, “having been justified [declared righteous] by faith … have peace with God through [their] Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that in everything we do, we don’t get it perfectly right. From the moment we are born, we need help in the things we do. As simple an illustration of the reality of life that this is, the cosmic picture is even grander. When we fail to meet God’s standard of perfection what do we do? Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Redefining the reality of God’s standards, fail up against His clear teachings. Even our best charitable or religious actions have self interest that disqualifies them in the face of true altruism. Our conscience, others and even Satan himself rightly accuse us of sinfulness. So what can be done to truly alleviate the guilt and shame?

The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that He is the advocate for those who trust Him as their defense attorney. It is that divine courtroom drama that underlies the apostle John’s thought in this section. Building on the glorious affirmation of 1:9 that God “is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” John explains that He can do so because His Son is both 1) The believers’ Defense Attorney (1 John 2:1b)and 2) The Perfect Propitiation for their sins (1 John 2:2). That twofold truth is central to the gospel.

1) The Divine Defense Attorney(1 John 2:1b)

1 John 2:1b (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (ESV)

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