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Our Advocate in Heaven

1 John 2:1-2
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIVUK)

John is writing to God's children, people who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12). And yet the apostle refers to them as 'my children'. This was an affectionate term for those who looked to him for guidance as they learned to be disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19); but John did not claim to be their father because Jesus had said, "… do not call anyone on earth 'father', for you have one Father, and He is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9).

The believer has maximum joy when being obedient, and so John wanted them to live in a holy way (1 Peter 1:16). Jesus lived to please Father God and His disciples should do the same. But if they fail and incur the Father's wrath, Jesus will speak to the Father on their behalf. The scene is a courtroom and Jesus presents Himself before the Judge as the advocate for the sinner. He defends the sinner by pointing to His own wounds as evidence that the punishment has already been paid and therefore the sinning believers should be pardoned from all their sins.

The blood of Jesus Christ is the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. His sacrifice is not just for the Jews but for anybody who hears and responds to the call of God (Acts 2:39). The blood of Christ is effective for people of all ethnic backgrounds, religious upbringing, cultural and social habits. Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That is why the church is composed of such a wide diversity of people: it is a foretaste of heaven (Revelation 7:9,14).

To know that Jesus is our advocate before the Court of God is a wonderful comfort, because we all sin. Satan would like to accuse us, hoping to convince us that our faith is worthless because of our sinful life-choices. But Jesus our Saviour is also our Advocate. He does not defend us on the basis of our guiltlessness, or good intentions or previous good behaviour. The defence is that He has already taken the punishment which was due to us. This wonderful truth is the basis of gospel mission worldwide. So, be confident as you share the Good News: not only that Jesus saves, but that He continues to be the effective Advocate of all who put their trust in Him … and they will never be sent away (John 6:37).

Gracious God. Thank You for the effective advocacy of Jesus Christ to defend me from Your wrath and from the lies of Satan. I am sorry for the times I have become despondent under the weight of my own sin, and have forgotten that Jesus has already carried them in His body at the cross. Please refresh my soul with that truth and embolden me to tell others of His saving grace and daily advocacy. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams