Chapter 53 Our Advocate

We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1).

Being an Advocate for believers is another aspect of our Lord’s High Priestly ministry in heaven.

The Meaning of Advocate

The Greek word is Paraclete. It means one who comes alongside to plead on another’s behalf. The Holy Spirit is the Advocate of the Lord Jesus. He presents the Lord’s claims to us. He interprets the excellencies of the Lord Jesus to our hearts. He is in charge of all matters concerning the Lord’s church. And just as the Holy Spirit is the Advocate of Christ to us, so the Lord Jesus is our Advocate in heaven before the Father. He is the Pleader on our behalf for God’s favor—the Supporter of our case—the Advocate of our defence—our Friend at all times. This ministry is part of His function as our High Priest. “He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Since our Lord lives by the power of an endless life, at no point of time throughout the ages of eternity can His ministry for us fail. His is an eternal advocacy. The devil always has accusations against us while here on earth. He no doubt speaks the truth about us when He accuses us before God, but speaks lies to us when he speaks about God. But when we trust in the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, He pleads, not our innocence or righteousness which we do not possess, but His sacrifice on our behalf. Having for our benefit met all the demands of law, the law can no longer point an accusing finger, and His having absorbed in His own body all the punishment due to us, Satan also is silenced and rebuked, having no ground of accusation.

The Ministry Involved As Advocate

He appears before God on our behalf in the text, that is, not viewing us as sinners but as believers. His appearance is “before the Father” on behalf of His own dear children. It is a family affair. Our fellowship is with the Father (1 John 1:3). We have access to Him. We live in His holy presence without fear.

John reminds us it is possible for the children of God to sin—as it is in any human family. When we grieve our Father in heaven we are made very much aware of it. As in a human family, children often bring disgrace and dishonor to their father’s house and his good name. The Holy Spirit makes us very conscious of such things done to God. What if we do sin? Does the Father now disregard us and disown us? No! Never! “We have an Advocate with the Father.” He who was once the propitiation for our sins and a divine Substitute to bear them all away, is now our Advocate with the Father. The believer comes to his Father as an erring child. He does not have to go back and have another new birth and another repentance for sins committed in order to become a child of God again. He may have come a long way on his heavenward way when he stumbles, but the ground covered is not lost. “If any man sin” has the thought of an accident. It is not that a believer lives in willful and continuous sin. He has been caught off guard, but now through the Lord’s intercession on the ground of His sacrifice, sin is cleansed and the believer restored to fellowship with the Father. Our Lord is presented here, not as the Saviour of sinners but as an Advocate of the Father’s own dear children.

The Method of His Plea As Advocate

He presents Himself on our behalf, not with His divine titles such as the everlasting Son but with those names associated with His human nature—“Jesus,” the name that is precious to sinners—and “Christ,” the Sent or Anointed One as the Father’s Prophet, Priest, and King—“the righteous,” the only one who can stand before the Father with a perfect, sinless life lived here on earth. No earthly priest can do that because he himself is faulty. The Lord did not save us by His righteous life but by His substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf. But because of His righteous life He is qualified to be an Advocate. We would not want an advocate who had committed the same sins as ourselves. The Lord does not overlook any one sin, but His experience in every human circumstance of testing, in which He felt the force and malignity of evil, has made Him a very sympathetic Advocate. The presentation of His blood is not a continuous sacrifice, that is, He is not crucified again and again, but there is an eternal efficacy in His sacrifice and thus it avails forever. His is an eternal and ever-prevailing advocacy and we may well thank God for that!

On heavenly heights an Angel stands,
He takes our prayer in heavenly hands,
And with celestial incense rare
He mingles every heartfelt prayer
Of those who trust His precious blood
To reconcile their souls to God.

Then from that glorious heavenly place
Descend the lightnings of His grace;
To heal, to strengthen, and provide
For those who trust in Him who died,
“Who died,” I say? Yea, He who rose
Triumphant, Conqueror of His foes.

Who is that priestly Angel bright
Who thus dispels the darkest night?
’Tis He who sets the captive free,
Jesus, who died on Calvary’s tree;
Who is, Who was, and is to come—
The glory of His Father’s home.

—Author Unknown