This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
We (those who continue to sin) have an advocate in heaven. Jesus himself is arguing our cause before the judgement seat of God. It is a rather remarkable promise. Other New Testament authors take up the same theme.
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. (Rom8:34)
For Christ … entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Heb 9:24)
According to the Scriptures the work of Christ for our salvation does not end with his death on the Cross. As our high priest Jesus has ascended into the holy place of God’s eternal presence where he prays continually for us.
In today’s passage the author reminds us that we have all done wrong. To deny something so obvious would suggest that God’s Word has not taken proper root in our lives. For the Spirit enables us to see more clearly the fault lines in our own hearts and actions. In the light of such self-realisation we are encouraged to confess our wrongdoings in order that we might be forgiven and cleansed.
But there are some of us who continue to feel the incriminating weight of our darkest words and actions. A myriad reasons come to mind why our particular sins are not to be so easily dealt with. However, in this matter we are not our own lawyers. An advocate has been appointed who will argue our case on the basis of his own merits and accomplishments. And therein lies the proper grounds for our confidence and peace with God.
In the divine event of human salvation there is an interplay between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Central to this dynamic is the mediation of Christ in his humanity with his Father.
For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human. (1Tim2:5)
Heavenly Father I am hesitant to enter your awesome presence For I have done wrong – knowingly and repeatedly. I ask that you would look Not on my disobedience, But on the obedience of your beloved Son. That you would give ear Not to my self-serving words and excuses, But to the prayer of the risen Christ, And receive me, even me, as one of your own.