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. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Believers are meant to live a holy life. Believers are not to sin. There seems to be the idea with this that believers can NOT sin. A genuine believer in Jesus Christ does not have to give in to the sinful temptations that come into their lives.
But what if we do? What if, despite all that God has done in us, through us, and for us to equip us to live a life of holy obedience we totally blow it? What do we do then? Do we give up, surrender to the fact that we are going to sin and move on down the road? Do we just sin all we want because failure is inevitable? Do we let this fact cause us to live beat down and defeated by sin? No on all counts. Instead we are to live confidently in Jesus and depend on His sacrifices as our only source of righteousness.
Jesus is our advocate with the Father. The idea with this is that of a lawyer standing up to plead the case of his client. This idea is captured in the NIV that says that Jesus speaks to the Father in our defense. It’s important for us to understand that the sin of a believer is every bit as serious as the sin of an unbeliever. In fact, the sin of a believer is perhaps more serious because of our relationship with Jesus. The believer’s sin makes him guilty of transgression and worth of condemnation and punishment. If Jesus was not the believer’s advocate, this is exactly what they would get. Jesus stands before God as the believer’s advocate and pleads their case.
Jesus is the only one who can successfully plead the believer’s case to God because He is the righteous one. Jesus is the holy Son of God that came to earth and lived a perfect, sinless life. He was born in a sinless state and He followed this up by living a sinless life. Jesus perfectly kept the letter and the spirit of God’s Law. Jesus lived such a perfect life that the Pharisees couldn’t find anyone to accuse Him of wrong so they had false witnesses come and testify against Him and their false testimonies didn’t agree with each other. Since Jesus is the only person that is perfect in righteousness, He is the only one that has the right to stand before God on another’s behalf.
What is it that Jesus pleads for the believer when He stands as our advocate?
He doesn’t plead the reputation of the believer.
He doesn’t plead the good works of the believer.
He doesn’t plead that the believer is not guilty of committing the sin.
He doesn’t plead that the believer is pretty good overall.
He doesn’t plead the personal righteousness of the believer.
So what does Jesus plead for the believer? He pleads His righteousness that has been given to the believer.
The believer is spared from the condemnation and punishment his sin deserves because Jesus is righteous and He has given His righteousness to the believer through the believer’s faith in what Jesus did on the cross. Genuine believers have let go of their own sense of righteousness and are clinging to Jesus and what He did on the cross as their only source of righteousness. The only plea a person ever has before God against their sin, guild and condemnation is Jesus Christ and what He has done on the cross.
If you are believer, then you can NOT sin. Believe that. Live that. But if you do sin, don’t let Satan use that to beat you down with condemnation. Confess your sin. Be restored in your relationship with Jesus. Rest in His grace. Jesus Christ is your advocate. Jesus Christ has given you His righteousness. Jesus Christ has set you free. Live in that freedom.