Names of God: Advocate

Name of God: Advocate
by Dan Gibson

I John 2: 1, 2 — 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. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

For about thirty-five years, I have served as a prosecutor.  The first ten years of that time I spent in criminal prosecution, seeking the conviction of persons guilty of committing crimes.  Most often, my counterpart in the process was a public defender.  I had no desire to be a public defender, and often had pondered the especially difficult task that they had, defending those whom I deemed to be guilty of the crimes with which they were charged, whose excuses frequently ran counter to reason and truth.

So it is a challenge for me to realize and digest the nature of Christ’s work as set forth in the text above.  He is here portrayed for us as the great Public Defender, who pleads our case for us in the courts of heaven, before the perfect judge, his Father.  We are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  We deserve the ultimate punishment, even if we have managed to fool ourselves about our status.  There is no fooling the Judge of earth and heaven, who sees through us to the very heart of our being.  If we stand alone, on our own, we are doomed.  But we have one who stands with us, making our case to the Father.  He doesn’t seek to put a pretty face on our behavior.  Instead he pleads his own righteousness for us.  He can do this with utter conviction because he himself has both perfectly satisfied the Father and borne the penalty for us through his own death.  The Dutch word for lawyer is “advocaat.”  That is the word picture that these verses  from John’s first epistle paint for us.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands
My name is written on His heart
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Behold Him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless Righteousness
The great unchangeable I AM
The King of glory and of grace
One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by His blood
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God
With Christ my Savior and my God
Original words by Charitie Lees Bancroft (1841-1892), music and alt. words by Vikki Cook. © 1997


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