The idea that I would need an attorney is a scary thought to me, because it means I broke the law and am going to be liable for some type of punishment unless I can prove my innocence. The closest I ever came to this was when I was attending graduate school in Abilene, Texas. I hopped in my car to go to a friend’s house and forgot my purse, in which was my wallet, in which was my driver’s license. Wouldn’t you know that on that day as I approached the campus there was a police car in the middle of the road with a police officer stopping all cars and checking driver licenses!
I confidently reached for my purse, which was not there, and immediately was filled with fear. To my relief, I did not get hauled off to jail, but I did receive a citation stating that by such and such a date I had to show up at the police station and prove I had a current driver’s license. I went on my way, relieved.
However, about a month later, I received a notice saying there was a warrant out on me and that I could be picked up at any time because I did not show proof of a driver’s license. (Just another thing I forgot)! I was instructed to report to the courthouse on said date. I immediately was filled with panic, fear and dread. I wasted no time, called an older friend and asked for help.
We both went to the courthouse. It was comforting to have someone by my side as I faced the judge. The friend who stayed by my side was there for moral support, so to speak. He did not do any pleading on my behalf. It turned out that I did not have to go to jail or even pay a fine. I simply had to show the judge my valid driver’s license. Nevertheless, it was a frightening experience, which if I had been found guilty would have had a penalty to pay.
I Need a Defender
When I studied the scriptures to learn about Jesus and the salvation He offers. I understood that Jesus took my sins on Himself, and that He paid the penalty for my sins which was death and separation from God.
However, after I believed and was baptized into Jesus (Gal. 3:27), I thought I was done with sin and that I would be sinless from that point on. So, when I did sin, I became fearful and anxious forgetting what God did for me in Jesus. Obviously, I was very naïve about my fleshly nature.
Since I came to Jesus I have overcome some sin tendencies, but I still sin. Infact, I have been a disciple for many years and through the years God has helped me to see sins I had committed that I never realized. This became a new source of anxiety. Have you ever felt that way or wondered about these things?
The thought of sinning bothers me, because I thought I would no longer sin and the scripture calls us to stop sinning. There are many verses in the New Testament that call us to live a holy life, such as Col. 3:4-7.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Col. 3:5-7
I have since come to realize that putting off my old self and putting on and growing in Godly character is a lifelong process. But the problem of sin remains. So, what do I do with the sins I commit after I have come to Jesus? In 1 John, a letter written to 1st century believers, the Spirit reveals the truth about this dilemma and provides God’s solution.
Jesus Our Defense Attorney
Jesus is not only our Savior, but also He is our advocate as stated in 1 John 2:1.
“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.”1 John 2:1
The term in New Testament Greek for advocate is parakletos which is two words. Para means “alongside” and kaleo means “make a call”. It refers to coming alongside someone to give aid. This word is often used in the New Testament when the scripture refers to the Holy Spirit. However, in 1 John 2:1-2, it is specifically applied to Jesus.
In this verse the term advocate is used in a legal sense. It was used to indicate one who pleads a cause before a judge. Our equivalent today might be a “defense attorney.”
A defense attorney comes alongside a person to plead their cause before a judge. By using this word in describing Jesus, John paints a picture of Jesus as our legal representative coming along side us, in a spiritual sense, and pleading our case before the Father.
Jesus is in heaven, seated at the right hand of God presenting evidence to God on my behalf. The interesting thing is that Jesus’ advocacy is not a onetime thing, but rather it is a continuous process. The word “have” in the phrase “we have an advocate with the Father” is a present tense indicating a continuous action!
Jesus advocated for me on the cross and he continues to advocate for me. So, when I first came to believe in Him He presented my case to God, and He continues to advocate on my behalf as I walk along with Him. This is so reassuring to me, because I “mess up” a lot.
Jesus Is the Evidence
What evidence could Jesus possibly be presenting on my behalf since I know I am guilty of sinning, of going against the commands of Jesus? As a skilled defense attorney Jesus presents His evidence before God. The evidence that Jesus presents in not what I have done, but what He has done. All of His evidence on my behalf is based in His sacrifice, 1 john 2:1-2.
Article of Evidence#1: Jesus Became the Criminal
Jesus took my sins on Himself. In other words He became me and my sin. He gave up His status of being without blame, of being righteous or sinless. He took on my status as the transgressor, the law breaker, and He choose to give me His righteousness.
- “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
Article #2: Jesus Took My Punishment
He took my punishment of death on Himself and gave me life.
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
- “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:9
Article of Evidence #3: Jesus Made Restitution for My Sin
Jesus made up for my transgression by offering His blood to the Father. He met the requirement of the law by doing this.
- “… He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12
Article of Evidence #4: Jesus Wiped My Record Clean
Jesus cancelled out all the charges that were against me and He satisfied the requirement of the law in His sacrifice on the cross. So my “record,” so to speak, is clear and clean before God.
- And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Col. 2:13-14)
Yes, these are some of the pieces of evidence that Jesus presents to the Father on my behalf. Maybe He says to the Father, “Father, this woman is innocent. I carried her sins on me. Actually, Father, I am the sinner. I already took the punishment and I offered to You my blood to make up for her sins. She is righteous and blameless, free to live life with You, Father.” I don’t know, maybe that is carrying things too far. I am not sure how Jesus advocates for us, but I believe 1 John 2:1-2 is true and presents reassurance for me and you.
The purpose of this article is not to say we can sin and it is ok, but rather, it is to magnify God and Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross and what He continues to do for us. When I take sin lightly, it dishonors Jesus and makes a mockery of His sacrificial death.
The truth that Jesus is my advocate reminds me of Jesus’ steadfast love for me. It is reassuring to know that when I do sin and have a repentant heart, Jesus is talking to the Father for me. He is presenting His evidence and interceding for me. I can be at peace and rest in the sacrifice of
“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. 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