John had a profound understanding of Jesus Christ. In fact, even with the record we have in John’s writings, most people still do not understand Christ as John described Him. Let’s look at an example of this fact, unique to John’s writings.
“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” (1 John 2:1). Christ is our Advocate, not when we are righteous, but when we sin. If we sin, we have an Advocate, or one who pleads another’s case before a judge—God the Father, in this case.
We are all sinners. We are all going to disappoint people, including ourselves—and our Father. Even the ministry is “compassed with infirmity,” or weakness (Hebrews 5:2). We all fail to be perfect like our Father. This does not mean it is OK to sin—it is simply acknowledging reality.
When God’s people stumble and sin, we may think only of God distancing Himself from us—ashamed of us. But that’s not the way it is. Do we realize that, when we draw upon Him, Christ becomes our Advocate, pleading our case with God the Father? When you sin, and perhaps get depressed over it, Christ is at God’s throne being your Advocate!
Jesus Christ came in human form and understands the pulls of the flesh. He knows the weaknesses of the human spirit and the flesh. With that experience, He can help us get through to the Father in every detail. He has experience the Father doesn’t have. And the Father wants to hear His point of view. They both want to be absolutely just. The Father says to Christ, I want to hear you tell me about my son. We want to be as fair and loving and compassionate as we can be. The fact that we have an Advocate shows God’s great love and passion for justice. What a wonderful Father we have, who will sit down and talk with our Husband about how to remove our sins.
This gives us a deep insight into the character of the Father and the Son. They have gone to extreme lengths to see that we receive justice. Our Father is perfect and demands perfect justice. God is “no respecter of persons.” God demands that every angel, fallen angel and human being receives perfect justice.
God is unlike anyone we see on Earth, except in the very elect. And we are far from perfect.
We must strive diligently to understand our Advocate and our perfect Father. We are here to let God build that same character in us. Soon we will be in God’s Family living like the Father and Son have lived for all eternity!
During His ministry, Christ referred to the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter” (John 14:16). The Greek word translated Comforter is the same word as advocate in 1 John 2, but the context shows the difference. The Holy Spirit certainly is a great comfort, and it helps us overcome sin. But we have another Comforter. Christ personally is a Comforter, as our Advocate today. That job goes far beyond what the Holy Spirit does for us. We have two comforters: Not only the Holy Spirit, but also the righteous Christ is helping us to receive perfect justice by being our Advocate with the Father when we sin. Just knowing that is encouraging.
Another way to translate Advocate is Encourager. We know the Holy Spirit in us encourages us. But we also have another Encourager, even when we sin. How often do you husbands see your wife down and depressed, and you know she needs your encouragement? A righteous husband will be there for his wife. Christ doesn’t ask us to do things in our marriage that He will not do in His marriage to the Church. We have the supreme Husband of all husbands!
This is the opposite of how many people view God. To many, He is a harsh taskmaster, ready to destroy us if we weaken. Actually, He is just the opposite.
We can’t afford to mope around because of our sins. Christ wants us to repent and put those transgressions behind us. Our High Priest and Husband lives!
“We have an advocate,” John wrote—not did have. Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, is alive and working as our Advocate—now! That one word is a vision of breathtaking splendor.
We don’t understand what Christ is doing today if we fail to grasp this. He is always very active on our behalf—on your behalf.
This word also reveals a lot about our Father. He too is living, deeply sensitive to every important detail in our lives. He established Christ’s responsibility as our Advocate. He is a Father who has perfect love for each and every son. How can a Father with perfect love not be equally involved with each Family member? Our Father has no favorites in His Family.
How inspiring to know that we are so deeply loved!
Since we are to be perfect like our Father, we must have His passion for truth and justice. He listens when His only begotten Son pleads our case. He is a Father—not a cold, calculating judge! And we must become perfect as the Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). We must always be willing to hear any advocate to render true justice.
This is the only place in the Bible that the English word advocate is used. It helps us better understand the wonderful character of God. Christ and the Father are doing everything they can to give us eternal life—working passionately for each one of us. This is real! Everything is at stake. If we don’t give up, we are going to be in God’s Family.
Advocate is another one of those unique, powerful, visionary words that John uses.
Some people give up in discouragement. But that never happens if we stay close to our encouraging Advocate. God’s people need encouragement.
Christ taught John how strong and meaningful the original word advocate was (much more so than the English word today). It means God-advocate—not human advocate. It continually brings the Father into the picture: Christ is our Advocate to the Father. That keeps our focus on the God Family!
What an inspiring vision!
For more, read my free booklet The Last Hour.