Tuesday in the Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 John 2:1-2

Our Advocate and Sacrifice

Although we noted yesterday that we all have sinned, and that to deny such is simply to lie in the plainest and most obvious way, John quickly turns to say that his very reason for writing his letter was so that his readers would not sin.  This statement would hold true for all of the biblical writers, Old and New Testaments, alike.  The call was ever to turn away from sin and to God, to repent, and to live a godly life.  In saying this, John is merely summarizing the Law and the Prophets, and the Apostles as well.

But John knows that people do and will sin—even believers.  And so he writes, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  By way of aside, and as a matter of Greek grammar, 1:6-2:1 are loaded with “If…then” statements, the meaning of which being that “if this happens, then that will result.”  For instance, “If we walk in the light…we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us of all sin.” Or, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  In other words, “If this, for certain that.”  Well, here we have another such statement from the Apostle stated in 2:1.  There is no doubt that if we sin that we have an advocate by the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In this case, “advocate” means “one who appears on another’s behalf” and as such is a mediator and intercessor (BAG, 2nd ed., 618).  Thus, when Christians sin, Jesus our advocate stands on our behalf before the Father.

Now what gives him the right to do so?  Verse two answers this question: “He is the propitiation for our sins.”  And how did he come by this?  By offering himself unto the Father on our behalf.  Our Lord was both the atoning sacrifice whereby our sins were canceled and the propitiation whereby God’s just wrath against our sin was appeased (NICNT, 117-120).  These concepts offend modern ears who believe sin is a trifle, if they believe in the reality of sin at all.  Such a notion derives from a faulty view of God which sees Him not as holy but as a divine doting old fool or celestial Jeanie in the bottle: “Whatever God does, he does not condemn us for any wrongs we have done; after all, he loves us”—which further shows how little such people understand about love.  Scripture teaches that God is holy and just and does not clear the wicked but on the condition which He laid out Himself which John proclaims here: Our sins are forgiven on the basis of the shed blood of the Righteous One—his sacrifice, his propitiation, and now his intercessory work on our behalf before the Father—and all out of real love.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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