If you were in a court of law, would you listen to your attorney? After all, he is your “advocate.” He is there to argue and support your cause. That is what advocates do. An “advocate” is any person who comes along side to assist in any given situation. If we are “walking in the Light (1 John 1:7). We have a Great Advocate!
The apostle John said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). He also said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). That means we have a problem. John was not saying that we are all living vile and debauched lives. The word “sin” simply means to “fail” or “miss the mark,” and all of us have fallen short of God’s plan for our life (Romans 3:23). So, the aged apostle John said:
1 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. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
This is a message of HOPE. You see, there is just such an advocate in the great court of the Almighty. Someone once said:
WE owed a debt we could not pay
HE paid a debt He did not owe — C.H. Spurgeon
This is the great exchange. Jesus Christ exchanged His RIGHTEOUSNESS for our GUILT. This is nothing short of amazing! Think about it. Are you willing to listen to Him? John says that he is writing “so that you may not sin.” Some had been saying they “have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness” (1 John 1:6). Like many today, who say “I am a Christian,” but they never have time for God or His Word. This is inconsistent. The apostle Paul put it this way, “They profess to know God, but in [their actions] they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16).
Many people talk really good. They say all the right things, but their actions betray them. John says they “lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). This is not what the apostle is talking about here, when he speaks of “sin.” He is not saying that we can live a life of rejecting God’s Word, and think it is okay. John is saying that as we live our lives [walk] guided by God’s Word [light], we may fall short. At that point, we have, an “Advocate,” someone to come along side, assist and plead our case. It is “Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Jesus is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession [advocates] for them” (Hebrews 7:25). The apostle Paul asked, “Who is it that condemns?” His answer, “It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession [advocates] for us” (Romans 8:34). That is Jesus is not only the “prosecuting attorney” (bringing the charges), but He is also the “defense attorney.” He “advocates” for those who belong to Him. He can do that because He paid the fine (died for your sins).
This is what John was referring to when he said, “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” That word “propitiation” is not a real common word. It means to “win someone’s favor.” In the ancient world, many did not know the one true living God. They would worship gods that were more like super heroes. When there was a problem they “appeased” [propitiated] their gods. They would offer some sacrifice [a propitiation] to their gods. This idea is not found anywhere in the Bible.
However, the apostle Paul did use the word to describe what God did for YOU (Romans 3:23–26)! Note, the apostle said “all have sinned” or fallen short. That means we need an “advocate! The apostle went on to say that we can be “justified” or declared just and right because of God’s “grace” or compassion for us. This is possible because Jesus Christ paid the redemption or ransom for our sins. Then the apostle explained that God the Father offered Jesus (God the Son) as a propitiation by His blood. That is “God offered God as a sacrifice to satisfy God. It is all about His love for you.
It had to be so. God had to demonstrate His own righteousness. He just couldn’t say “Oh poor baby I forgive you.” He had to be “just” and right. So, for God to justify (declare to be just and right) a sinner, He had to first pay the penalty for sin. The apostle went on to say, sinners are justified or declared right by God because of their faith in Jesus. In other words they trust God enough to “walk in the light.”
If I say I “have fellowship with Him,” and do not pay attention to what He says is true, I “lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). His propitiation for my sins does not help me. John had said that he wrote so “that you also may have fellowship” and so “that your joy may be full.” Christ’s propitiation provides salvation for all (Hebrews 2:9). You see, God did it for “the whole world” (v 2). It is as wide as sin. Yet, everyone must be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). If people do not experience the benefit of Christ’s propitiation, the fault is theirs. You see, this “advocacy” is limited to those who have been reconciled (v 1; 1 John 1:7). If you do not belong to Him, you miss out. It would be a terrible shame to miss out on all of this simply because you did not understand or because you just didn’t make the effort to understand. You need to admit (confess) your sins to God (1 Johm1:9) then live a life trusting God’s revelation. Then you will experience the love of God. God is “faithful” to His promises and He is “just.” The price for sin has already been paid by Jesus.
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God” — C.S. Lewis