We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘Advocate’.
John the Apostle writes to the church in one of his letters: ‘My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One’ (1 John 2:1) The older King James translation translates the Greek word as ‘Advocate’ instead of the ‘one who speaks in our defence’.
Who is this ‘Advocate’? John tells us: ‘Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.’
But what does it mean that God’s Son is our ‘Advocate’? An advocate is a mediator or intercessor between two warring parties. An obvious example is a lawyer in a court situation. The lawyer intercedes on behalf of a guilty man to the court and hopefully comes to a settlement that makes restitution to the injured party.
Why do we need Jesus as our advocate? The verses from 1 John 2 tell us. Verse 1 speaks of the need for help when we sin. Yes, Christians still sin. Only in glory will we cease from sinning. So what do we need when we have committed a crime against the Holy Judge, God the Father? We need an advocate.
How does Jesus make a settlement with the Father? The next verses tell us: ‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2) Jesus as our lawyer/advocate points to his payment for all our sin and satisfies the wrath of the father for our crimes.
Paul also teaches that Jesus intercedes on our behalf to God: ‘Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died– more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us’ (Romans 8:33-34).
How do we sign up Jesus to be our advocate, our lawyer? By faith in him. The Apostle Paul writes: ‘But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:21-24). We are made righteous before God simply by faith, by believing in Jesus.
But how do we know that Jesus is our advocate? That Jesus has truly interceded before God and made a settlement for our sin? The Apostle John goes on to say: ‘We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did’ (1 John 2:3-6).
If we are walking according to God’s law, that is a sure sign we are believers in Christ and that he has interceded on our behalf before God for our sins.
Is Jesus your advocate?