1 John 2:1-6 - The Advocate
It would be nice to see, hear and even touch Jesus, but He's doing something even better for you right now.
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Read 1 John 2:1-6
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 47
Q. But isn’t Christ with us
until the end of the world
as he promised us?
A. Christ is truly human and truly God.
In his human nature
Christ is not now on earth;
but in his divinity, majesty, grace, and Spirit
he is not absent from us for a moment.
John's favorite term for the Christians he writes to - not just 2,000 years ago, but now - is children. Certainly John isn't referring to our age here, but as one Bible dictionary puts it, he means "a person of any age for whom there is a special relationship of endearment."
But referring to us as children works on many levels. Not only are we often immature and prone to disobedience and rebellion, but just like little, dependant children, we hate the feeling of being abandoned or alone.
And we often do feel that way, don't we, especially when the guilt sets in after we sin. Jesus seems so far away then. It's hard enough that we're asked to believe in a Savior we've never seen with our eyes or heard with our ears. It's easy to think that following Jesus would be so much easier if He would have just stayed right here with us instead of going back up into heaven.
But John reminds us here that Jesus didn't just ascend into heaven to rule over all things (although He does), but He ascended to heaven so that He could advocate for you! Even - especially! - when you sin, Jesus stands between you and our Holy Father so that as God looks at you, He first sees Christ - the atoning sacrifice for your all of your sin.
It's easy to think that this would all be so much easier to understand if we could just see Jesus, standing ahead of us with His nail scarred hands, defending His children before God the Father.
But you can't see this, at least not yet. That day will come (John tells us about that in another book he wrote called Revelation).
Yet you can know that this is true, and John tells you how in v5-6. If you want to "know that you are in Him," then you "must walk as Jesus walked (ESV)." But again, you're not called to walk alone. In drawing on other scripture passages, today's catechism reminds you that in His divinity, majesty, grace and Spirit, Jesus is never absent from you for even a moment.
Jesus doesn't just stand before the Father as some sort of idealized, theoretical concept of perfection. No, right now, at this very moment, Jesus stands in heaven in a human body. He experienced all this world could throw at Him - trials, temptations, sickness, grief, loss, abandonment, despair, and so much more - yet through it all never once took His eyes off of His Father. He is, as John describes in v1, the Righteous One.
The fact that there's a human body in heaven advocating for us - not just on the outskirts, but sitting at God's right hand - is a guarantee that all those who've put their faith and trust in Christ will one day also fully realize with all five of our senses the love and perfections of our Father.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who sits on the throne with our advocate at His right hand;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that your love for God will be made complete as you obey His Word.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 19