Anglican Morning Devotion, 8 November 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:1-5; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
According to the dictionary, an advocate is one who publicly proclaims or defends a cause. In common parlance, an advocate is a public defender at the bar of justice who publicly defends his client in a court of law. If our cause is decided in a court of law, we are lost and without hope; however, we have an Advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus the righteous, who binds our case over to the Court of Grace!
What a wonderful and magnanimous Advocate we have in the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the only One, being without sin or blemish, who was worthy to pay the penalty of our sins. That is an amazing fact; but the more amazing fact is that our Lord Jesus Christ was willing and ready to pay that penalty on a cruel cross without the gates of Jerusalem.
John, the Apostle of Love, chooses his words for tender effect. “And if any man sin!” John speaks with the tenderness of the Lord whom he loves beyond all others. The word ‘if’ could be more accurately labelled ‘when’! But John learned from his Lord to speak tenderly to the believer as well as the sinner. Jesus never harangued a poor sinner – the Woman taken in Adultery; the Woman at the Well; the Woman taken with an Issue of Blood; the Syro-Phoenician Woman; the 10th Leper who returned to give thanks; or the publican who beat upon his chest and proclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13)
It was the religious hierarchy that drew the wrath of the Lord in their hypocrisy and contrivances. We all have sinned, and we all shall sin again. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (I John 1:8) So we need an Advocate, Mediator and an Intercessor – Jesus Christ our Lord! “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6) There is no other mediator or intercessor, or High Priest but Christ – not the greatest of the Apostles, nor the saints gone to their reward, nor Mary the Mother of our Lord. None but Christ died for our sins. None but Christ rose from the tomb to ascend to Heaven. None but Christ sits at the right Hand of the Father to make intercession as our High Priest for our confessed sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Imagine that dark and dreadful day when the heavens are rolled back as a scroll and the Son of God descends leading the armies of Heaven – and judgment follows. Imagine the terror and sorrow of the soul lost in sin who rejected the Lord and His sovereignty as he is drawn before the Judgment seat alone and without benefit of an Advocate for his cause. He, like the woman taken in adultery, can voice no defense on his own behalf. He has been caught red-handed and he knows it well. What utter despair and grief at that moment as he looks into the eyes of Him who is now his Judge. He has lived in the eternity of darkness with many comrades, but now he must cross Jordan Waters alone and with none to go his defense.
Now, on the other hand, consider the one saved by grace alone and not by good works who has lived a life of obedience from the day of his conversion and whose sins have been blotted out of the Book of Life. As the crumbling banks of Jordan Waters begin to settle beneath his feet, he feels a strong arm pulling him up just as Peter was drawn up and out of the turbid waters of the Galilean Sea. He is escorted to God just as Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom. He has his Advocate to go his defense. As he approaches the Throne of Judgment, lit with the brilliance of the sun to reveal every sin, he hears the remarkable words of his Advocate proclaim, “This One belongs to me, O Father. His sins are covered by my redeeming blood shed on the cross overlooking Jerusalem.” “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:31-34)