1 John 2:1-6
My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father…
How divine is the gospel! "Sin not." "If any man sin." It gives us comfort against the demerit of sin without encouraging the acts of sin. No religion is so pure for the honour of God nor any so cordial for the refreshment of the creature.
I. CHRIST IS AS MUCH AN ADVOCATE AS HE IS A SACRIFICE, as God is as much a governor as He was a creator. As we say of Providence, it is a continued creation; so of intercession, it is a continued oblation.
1. This office of advocacy belongs to Him as a priest, and it is apart of His priestly office. As He was a priest upon the Cross to make an expiation for us, so He is our priest in the court of heaven to plead this atonement, both before the tribunal of justice and the throne of mercy, against the curses of the law, the accusations of Satan, the indictments of sin, and to keep off the punishment which our guilt had merited.
2. This, therefore, was the end of His ascension and sitting down at the right hand of God. His mediation kept the world from ruin after man's fall, and His intercession promotes the world's restoration after His own Passion.
3. This advocacy is founded upon His oblation. His plea depends upon the value and purity of His sacrifice.
4. The nature of this advocacy differs from that intercession or advocacy which is ascribed to the Spirit. Christ is an advocate with God for us, and the Spirit is an advocate with God in us (John 14:17). Christ is our advocate, pleading for us in His own name; the Spirit is an advocate, assisting us to plead for ourselves in Christ's name.
II. WHAT KIND OF ADVOCATE CHRIST IS.
1. Authoritative. He intercedes not without a commission and command (Jeremiah 30:21).
2. Wise and skilful. He has an infinite knowledge as God and a full and sufficient knowledge as man.
3. Righteous and faithful. As He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, so He is exalted to perfect the conquest by His intercession. If He had sin He could not be in heaven, much less a pleader there.
4. Compassionate. His intercession springs from the same tenderness towards us as His oblation, and both are but the displaying of His excessive charity.
5. Ready and diligent. He is passed into the heaven, seated there in a perpetual exercise of this office, to entertain all comers at all times; and can no more be sleepy than He can be cruel, no more cease to be diligent than He can be bereaved of His compassions.
6. Earnest and pressing. He was not more vehement to shed His blood than He is to plead it. No man is more solicitous to increase the honour and grandeur of his family than Christ is to secure the happiness of His people. For to what purpose did He carry up human affections to heaven but to express them in their liveliness and vigour for us and to us?
7. Joyful and cheerful. He hath not a sour kind of earnestness, as is common among men; but an earnestness with a joy, as being the delight of His heart.
8. Acceptable. He is the favourite of the court.
9. Alone. Since Christ trod the wine press alone He solicits our cause alone, intercession being founded upon propitiation; He, therefore, that is the sole propitiator is the sole intercessor. As God never gave any commission to redeem us to any other, so He never gave a commission to any other to appear for us in that court.
III. HOW CHRIST DOTH MANAGE THIS ADVOCACY AND INTERCESSION.
1. Christ is not an advocate in heaven in such a supplicating manner as He prayed in the world. This servile way of praying, as they call it, because it was performed by Christ in the form of a servant, is not agreeable to His present glorious estate. It is as unsuitable to His state in heaven as His prayers with strong cries were suitable to His condition on earth. Nor is it a supplication in the gesture of kneeling, for He is an advocate at the right hand of God, where He is always expressed as sitting, and but once as standing (Acts 7:55).
2. Yet it may be a kind of petition, an expressing His desires in a supplicatory manner. Though He be a king upon His throne, yet being settled in that royal authority by His Father, as His delegate, He is in regard of that inferior to the Father, and likewise in the economy of mediator. And also as His human nature is a creature, He may be a petitioner without any debasement to Himself, to that power, by whose authority He is settled in His dignity, constituted in His mediatory office, and was both made and continues a creature.
3. It is such a petition as is in the nature of a claim or demand.
4. This intercessory demand or asking is accompanied with a presenting the memorials of His death.
5. It is a presenting our persons to God, together with His blood, in an affectionate manner (Exodus 28:29; Song of Solomon 8:6; Revelation 3:5).
IV. CHRIST DOTH PERPETUALLY MANAGE THIS OFFICE.
1. The first evidence is in the text, "We have an advocate"; we have at this present; we in this age, we in all ages, till the dissolution of the world, without any faintness in the degrees of His intercession, without any interruption in time.
2. There can be no cessation of His work till His enemies be conquered and His whole mystical body wrapped up in glory.
3. It is necessary it should be so.
(1) Because it is founded upon His death. It is an "eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12), and therefore an eternal intercession.
(2) The exercise of this office must be as durable as the office itself. His priesthood is forever, therefore the act belonging to His priesthood is forever.
(3) This was both the reason and end of His advancement. The intercession He made for transgressors was one reason why God would "divide Him a portion with the great" (Isaiah 53:12); "because He made intercession for the transgressors." It was also the end of His advancement (Hebrews 10:12).
V. THE EFFICACY OF THIS INTERCESSION (Romans 5:10).
VI. THE PARTICULARITY OF THIS INTERCESSION.
1. For believers only. He manages no man's cause that is not desirous to put it into His hands.
2. For every believer particularly.
VII. WHAT DOTH CHRIST INTERCEDE FOR? In general His intercession for believers is as large as the intent of His death for them.
(S. Charnock, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: