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"Jesus in Heaven: Our Advocate" (posted September 5, 2002)

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.
      - 1 John 2:1

When we come to examine more closely the present service of Christ we find that it falls into two main divisions. The first is that of His priesthood, which is so largely developed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in keeping with its great theme of approach to God. The second is that of His advocacy. Scripture says, "If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). The word here translated "Advocate" is translated "Comforter" [in the King James Version] in John 14:16, 15:26, and 16:7; the fact being that we have the Spirit of God here below as Comforter (or Advocate), and Christ above with the Father as Advocate (or Comforter).

As Advocate He charges Himself with our concerns, and especially acts in relation to our sins. He leads us to repentance concerning them, so that we confess them to God according to 1 John 1:9. He also is there before the Father on our behalf as the One who has accomplished propitiation [the satisfaction or appeasement of God regarding our sins]; and thus, repentance and confession having taken place, the communion that had been disturbed by the sin is reestablished.

Bear in mind, then, the following distinctions:

  • As Priest (Hebrews 4:15-16) He deals with and counteracts the infirmities of His saints that He may lead them in their approach to God; as Advocate, He deals with the sins of His saints.
  • As Priest, He acts that we may not fall in spite of our infirmities; as Advocate, He lifts us up when fallen.
  • His Priesthood, in a word, has as its first object, prevention. His advocacy has as its object, cure.

In Christ's present ministry on high we have thus a perfect provision for our sojourn in weakness below. We are truly in the enemy's land and in the presence of his power; yet we may be maintained in the conflict against our foes, because we are sustained in our approach and nearness to God by the priestly action of the Lord Jesus Christ.

F. B. Hole

The work of atonement is never repeated; the work of the Advocate is never interrupted. When once the blood of Christ is applied to the soul by the power of the Holy Ghost the application is never repeated. To think of a repetition is to deny its efficacy and to reduce it to the level of the blood of bulls and goats (Hebrews 10:4,11-14). So precious is His blood that not a trace of our guilt remains. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

[But now] Jesus is in the presence of God for us. He is there as a High Priest before God -- as an Advocate with the Father. He has by His atoning death rent the veil -- put away sin -- brought us nigh to God in all the credit and virtue of His sacrifice, and now He lives to maintain us by His advocacy in the enjoyment of the place and privileges into which His blood has introduced us.

Hence the apostle says, "If anyone sins, we have"-- what? The blood? Nay, but "an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The blood has done its work, and is ever before God according to its full value in His sight. Its efficacy is ever the same. But we have sinned; it may be only in thought; but even that thought is quite enough to interrupt our communion [our fellowship with God]. Here is where advocacy comes in. If it were not that Jesus Christ is ever acting for us in the sanctuary above, our faith would most assuredly fail in moments in the which we have in any measure yielded to the voice of our sinful nature. Thus it was with Peter in that terrible hour of his temptation and fall: "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me (or been restored), strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:31-32).

Let the reader note this. "I have prayed for you, that"-- what? Was it that he might not fail? Nay, but that, having failed, his faith might not give way. Had Christ not prayed for his poor, feeble servant, he would have gone from bad to worse, and from worse to worst. But the intercession of Christ procured for Peter the grace of true repentance, self-judgment and bitter sorrow for his sin, and finally complete restoration of his heart and conscience, so that the current of his communion -- interrupted by sin, but restored by advocacy -- might flow on as before.

Thus it is with us when, through lack of that holy vigilance which we should ever exercise, we commit sin: Jesus goes to the Father for us. He prays for us; and it is through the efficacy of His priestly intercession that we are convicted and brought to self-judgment, confession, and restoration. All is founded on the advocacy, and the advocacy is founded on the atonement.

C. H. Mackintosh

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