Today’s passage: 1 John 2:1–2
Focus verse: But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (1 John 2:1)
John’s desire for us is that we do not sin. That’s one of the reasons he writes his letter. Yet if anyone does sin, he reminds us that we have an advocate to represent us to the Father.
Our advocate is none other than the righteous Jesus who sacrificed his life to atone for our sins and for the sins of the entire world.
In a general sense, an advocate is someone who represents us to a person of authority. This may be because we lack access to them or don’t have the ability to properly plead our case. We need someone to stand in for us and speak on our behalf.
A lawyer is a familiar advocate in our world today, often in the courtroom.
Lawyers are expensive and can’t guarantee a successful outcome. However, we’ll realize a much better chance of winning with a lawyer representing us than if we tried to represent ourselves. The lawyer advocates on our behalf.
In a spiritual sense, Jesus is our advocate before his Father. Imagine Jesus standing up when we sin, reminding Papa that he already atoned for them. And since we’ve confessed them, God remembers them no more; he wipes our slate clean.
This is a comforting thought that gives me much assurance, yet I’m not sure if it’s necessary. After all, Jesus and the Father are one, so they both know what the other is thinking. Jesus doesn’t need to remind his Father of anything. Father God already knows.
Yet I like the idea of Jesus as our advocate. If Jesus is for us, who can be against us? (See Romans 8:31).
Most of the time when the Bible uses the word advocate, however, it’s not in reference to Jesus but instead to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is also our advocate. How amazing is it that we have both the Spirit and Jesus to advocate for us?
And unlike our human advocates here on earth who are expensive to hire and don’t always succeed, our spiritual advocates work for us at no cost and have a much higher success rate—I suspect 100 percent.
When we sin—and we will—we need to confess it. Then we can push aside our guilt, because Jesus has already died for that sin, and the Father has forgiven it. In addition, Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) advocates on our behalf.
We can’t lose.
- How should we react to the idea of Jesus being our advocate?
- When have we last thanked him for being our atoning sacrifice?
- What do you think about Jesus and the Holy Spirit both being our advocates?
- How can we let go of guilt over the sins we’ve confessed and the forgiveness Jesus has provided?
- When we pray for others, how might we be acting as their advocate?
Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.
Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.