The Advocacy of Christ
We need to see what
Christ is doing today to
deal with the guilt of
our sins: nothing
The New Testament tells us that Christ is our “Advocate with the Father,” and also that He “intercedes” on our behalf. However, these are two very different things, and understanding the distinction between them can give us a key for understanding our entire Christian life.
In this Note we will consider Christ as our Advocate, and in the next, how He intercedes on our behalf.
Christ being our “Advocate” is in relation to our sins. First John 2:1-2 tells us:
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. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
Christ is our Advocate today, not by what He does, but by who He is; as the apostle tells us, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.”
The key point to understand here is that, in relation to the guilt our sins, Christ is not doing anything today. He does not need to, for on His side everything that needs to be done in relation to our sins has already been accomplished, through His work of redemption on the cross:
“It is finished!”
— John 19:30
Although He is our “Advocate,” He does not even need to pray for us to be forgiven, which is why this verse does not say that Christ “advocates” on our behalf. Rather, Christ is our Advocate simply by being in God’s presence, as a testimony of the payment for sins that has already been made.
Many Christians misunderstand this important point. Even Charles Wesely’s classic hymn, “Arise, My Soul, Arise,” though on the whole quite good, gives a wrong impression regarding this when it says, “the Father hears Him pray” in relation to our sins.
How completely the work of Christ in relation to our sin is “finished!” And how powerful is the blood of Christ! Even a basic realization of “the finished work of Christ,” and of the power of the blood, will give us much more assurance and confidence toward God, and in our relationship with Him.
If we do sin, we may lose our fellowship with God for a time, but our relationship with Him can never be broken. Just before speaking of Christ as our “Advocate,” John wrote,
…If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
— 1 John 1:9
So, we only need to confess our sins to restore our fellowship with Him. Then the Father is “faithful and righteous” to forgive our sins and cleanse us based upon the already-shed blood of Christ. In fact, this whole process will bring us into a deeper fellowship with our heavenly Father.
But, Christ Himself does not need to do anything more regarding our sins; He does not need to, for,
“It is finished!”
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— 22 June 2022 —