Tag Archive | penalty of sin

Jesus Christ, Our Advocate with the Father

The Greek word paraklētos, translated Advocate in today’s Scripture passage, is used five times in the New Testament, once by the apostle John to refer to Jesus Christ, and four times by Jesus Himself of “another Advocate,” the Holy Spirit.

Advocate is another title for a lawyer, someone who pleads your case before the bar of justice. In modern terms, an advocate is like a defense attorney who pleads the case for a defendant before a judge. The Greek word literally means called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid.

When John calls Jesus our Advocate,” it means that our Savior is standing before the heavenly throne of God, pleading our case before the Father. He is interceding on our behalf because we belong to Him.

It’s important to point out one important distinction between Jesus Christ our heavenly Advocate and an earthly advocate for someone accused of a crime. Jesus’ case as He represents us before the Father isn’t based on our righteousness or good works. His case for us is grounded in the work He has already done to secure God’s favorable verdict.

Even though we are guilty of sin and unable to meet the righteous standards God has set, Jesus has already paid the price for our sin. Or as 1 John 2:2 says,

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

But we still have a part in the process. We have to accept this atoning sacrifice as our own through faith in the work Jesus has done. When we do this, the perfect righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is imputed to us. This means Christ’s righteousness is attributed to us by faith and counted as our own. As Matthew Henry wrote:

“The clients are guilty; their innocence and legal righteousness cannot be pleaded. It is the advocate’s own righteousness that he must plead for the criminals.”

I am grateful that, even now, Jesus is pleading with the Father on my behalf, interceding for me to be forgiven. Because I am in Christ, God is no longer the judge who condemns me but rather the Father who has adopted me into His family.

The “Rat Trap” of Sin

A banging noise woke me up out of a sound sleep around three o’clock this morning. I got up to investigate. The rat trap my husband had set in the kitchen had snared a large rat, and the still alive rat was flopping it across the kitchen doorway, unsuccessfully trying to free itself from the snare. A quick call to my husband took care of this problem, but I didn’t find it quite as easy to go back to sleep.

Sin is much like the trap that held this rat. As I’ve done an in-depth study of Hebrews 12: 1-2 this week, God has been expanding my understanding of these foundational verses. This morning, I read these verses in a variety of versions and noticed that a diverse list of phrases were used in Hebrews 12:1 to describe the effects of sin. 
Sin can:

  • Entangle us (NASB & NIV)
  • Cling closely to us (ESV)
  • Make us fall (Easy-to-Read version)
  • Distract us (God’s Word version)
  • Dog our feet (J.B. Phillips)
  • Easily beset us (KJV)
  • Wrap itself tightly around a our feet and trap us up (Living Bible)
  • Easily hold us back (New Century version)
  • Keep us from doing what we should (New Life Version)

But as I continued studying this verse, the description that really stood out to me was from the NKJV and HCSB: SIN ENSNARES US! Sin is much like the rat trap, a common type of snare trap, that woke me up much too early this morning. And in our own strength, we are no more able to free ourselves from the trap of sin than the rat was able to free itself this morning. 

But praise God, Jesus made a way for us to be set free from the snare of sin. He did this by enduring the cross and becoming the author and perfecter of our faith. As you prepare your heart for God’s good purposes for you in 2017, give thanks to Jesus for this incompatible gift of salvation. And determine to stand on this truth from Romans 6:6, that in Christ we are no longer enslaved to sin.