Summary: John wants his readers to understand that the work of Christ is the basis upon which the Christian may approach God for full forgiveness and cleansing.
A Study of the Book of 1st John
“Back To the Basics”
Sermon # 3
“We Have An Advocate With The Father”
In verse nine of chapter one, we were told, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Does that mean that we can just live however we want because God is gracious and merciful and we can always go running back to Him? No, in fact as we noted last week John goes on in the first verse of Chapter two to say, “I am writing these things so that you may not sin.” John makes it clear that we do not have to sin.
Yet the reality is that as long as we are present in these physical bodies we will still sin and fall at times. For this reason John begins Chapter two, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (2) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
John wants his readers to understand that the work of Christ is the basis upon which the Christian may approach God for full forgiveness and cleansing. John uses three terms to describe how Christ has made it possible for us to approach God.
First, He is Our Advocate.
“And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The Lord Jesus is our “Advocate” (paraklētos) which is transliterated as the word paraclete. This word “advocate” does not occur outside the writings of John. The word literally means “one who comes alongside to help.” When the term is used in a legal sense today we think of a defense attorney.
But Jesus is a most unusual defense attorney in that he does not maintain His client’s innocence but rather acknowledges their guilt. Our defense attorney does not seek to get us off on a technicality or make excuses for our sin. He admits our guilt and says, “Yes Father it is true they are guilty, but look at me, look at my scars, on the basis of my shed blood, I have paid for that sin in full.”
In a poem entitled “My Advocate,” Martha Snell Nicholson dramatically portrays the adequacy of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. She wrote:
"I sinned. And straightway, posthaste, Satan flew
Before the presence of the most High God,
And made a railing accusation there.
He said, “This soul, this thing of clay and sod,
Has sinned. ‘Tis true that he has named Thy Name,
But I demand his death, for Thou has said,
‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die.’
Shall not Thy sentence be fulfilled? Is justice dead’
Send now this wretched sinner to his doom.
What other thing can righteous ruler do?”
And thus he did accuse me day and night,
And every word he spoke, O God, was true!
Then quickly One rose up from God’s right hand,
Before whose glory angels veiled their eyes.
He spoke, “Each jot and tittle of the law
Must be fulfilled; the guilty sinner dies!
But wait—suppose his guilt were all transferred
To Me, and that I paid his penalty!
Behold My hands, My side, My feet! One day
I was made sin for him, and died that he
Might be presented faultless at Thy throne!”
And Satan fled away. Full well he knew
That he could not prevail against such love,
For every word my dear Lord spoke was true!"
Do you ever wonder how God could accept you in spite of your sins? It is because of your Advocate. God’s justice is satisfied with His sacrifice and no accusation of Satan or of your conscience can undo the completeness of Christ’s work. He who died as our substitute lives on as our advocate.
Although we should confess our sins (1:9), John does not say, “If we confess our sins, we have an advocate” but rather he says, “If anyone sins we have an advocate.” “Before we even repent of that cruel or brutal word we said, the very moment we had that evil thought, and the moment we did that wrong act, Jesus Christ was there at the throne of God to represent us as Satan was there accusing us.” [J. Vernon McGeeThru the Bible Commentary. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson - electronic ed. 1981)
We need to realize that God has graciously forgiven you completely in Jesus Christ. He is at the right hand of the Father pleading your case, even with your sin. Paul states it this way in Hebrews 7:25, “There-fore He is also able to save to the uttermost (forever) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them”