JESUS, THE RIGHTEOUS ONE, OUR ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER
The apostle John writes a very comforting word here. He writes concerning the “paraclete” which we have with the Father. And of him he says that we “have him.” This is our great ever-present glorious possession which none can take from us. He has entered for us into the most holy place, having passed through the heavens. There he is in our behalf. Fact is that this is an indication that we are dealing here with Jesus as our resurrected and ascended LORD. Of this matter Paul writes too inRomans 8:33, 34: “Who shall bring any charge against the elect of God? God it is who justifies; who shall condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died; yea rather who is risen, who is at the right hand of God,who also intercedes for us. ” Thus we have the sum of the entire matter stated in this triumphant, jubilant song of the redeemed. Truly, the gospel concerning the Christ as our “advocate” is most comforting to us. Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. We have a new and living way, since we have such an high priest who has passed into the holy place through the veil of His own flesh. In this advocate we have an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast within the veil of the holy place, whither the forerunner of our faith has entered now to intercede for us. (Hebrews 6:19; Hebrews 7:23)
He ever lives to pray for us!
The reason why he is called “Paraclete” is evidently to express the comfort and assurance for the struggling saint. The term itself means someone summoned for help. In secular Greek from the 4th Century B.C. the sense is of a “person called to help, summoned to give assistance.” This gives the meaning of “helper in court.” Scholars such as Behm write that in Classic Greek “even when there is no reference to a representative in court, the idea is still more or less clearly legal . . . but the use of Paracleetos for representative is to be understood in the light of legal assistance in court, pleading of another’s case” (Vol. V, page 801, Theological Dictionary of The New Testament). The same writer further delineates concerning the New Testament usage of the term as follows: “I John 2:1, where Jesus Christ is called the Parakleetos of sinning Christians before the Father, the meaning is obviously “advocate,” and the image of a trial before God’s court determines the meaning.” (page 803)
Now this is very basic and Comforting for the child of God, who has sinned and who is filled with a deep sense of guilt, and who has a broken and contrite heart. When we thus stand before the tribunal of the righteous judge of heaven and earth, we have an advocate with the Father! We need not fear for the Judge is our “heavenly Father” and the advocate is Jesus Christ the righteous One! The judge is faithful and just, who does not require payment twice for the same sins. And the Advocate never loses his case because he pleads and intercedes upon the basis of his own righteousness which he fulfilled for us on the Cross! Here is one court in which the guilty enter and in which they leave pardoned, innocent free in their deepest conscience and heart.
The name of our Advocate with the Father is JESUS!
He saves His people from their sins. He is JEHOVAH-Saves, or Jehovah is SALVATION. In Him God Almighty descends upon us and causes the very heavens to bow low to earth in condescending love. Mercy and truth kiss each other in Him. From His fulness have we all received, grace for grace. He saves His people from the guilt of sin, so that, “although their conscience accuses them that they have kept none of God’s commandments, yea, that they have transgressed them all, yet, that God deals with them as though they had never sinned, yea, as though they had kept all of God’s commandments, since they receive this benefit with a believing heart.” However, he also saves His people from the corruption and pollution of sin, sanctifies them by His grace and Spirit, so that His blood cleanses them from all unrighteousness. He is a faithful and merciful high priest in things pertaining to God. Indeed, He is Jesus, who saves His people from their sins. Either we seek all our salvation in Him; He is a complete and mighty Savior or He is not Savior at all.
This Jesus is the Christ, the anointed Son, the Messiah set upon the hill of Zion over all things. He is the appointed one of God to be the Savior-Advocate. No one taketh this honor to himself. Aaron in his priesthood had to be appointed by God Himself. Thus also it is with this High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Furthermore, He is also qualified by the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Him, to proclaim glad tidings to the poor, and to set the prisoners free, to clothe the naked, and heal the broken-hearted!
This is very important to confess, to wit, that Jesus is the Christ. This is tantamount to saying: Jesus is the Son of God. He that denies that Jesus is the Christ is antichrist. Thus we read in I John 2:22: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.” Again we read in I John 4:15: “Whosoever shall confess thatJesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” And, once more, we read in I John 5:1, 5respectively, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. . . .” “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth thatJesus is the Son of God?”
In all these passages the meaning and import of the NAME Jesus, as the only Name under heaven in which we must be saved is brought clearly and forcibly to the foreground. He is Jehovah-save. He is the LORD our righteousness, JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU! (Jeremiah 9:23, 24; I Corinthians 1:26-31) He is God with us. He is the Mystery that is great. God is manifested in the flesh—taken up in glory. (I Timothy 3:16)
This Jesus, this Son of God, our righteousness before God, is our Advocate! If any one of the little ones, the dear children, sin, we, the children of God, have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous one!
JESUS, THE PROPITIATION
That Jesus is our Advocate with the Father we have seen. However, to understand the depth of this his being our “advocate” (Paracleetos) we must also notice that he is the “propitiation.” The term is very significant for our salvation and is indeed important to be understood correctly. The late Dr. A. Kuyper Sr., in his book entitled Dat De Genade Particulier Is, (That Grace is Particular) reflects on this. Battling the proponents of general grace, (“algemeene genade”) he takes issue with those who insist that Christ Jesus is the propitiation of the sins of all and every man, head for head, and insists that the term here in the Greek text is not the means of reconciliation but is the propitiation itself.
Writes Dr. Kuyper (and we translate): “Even if the words were to be interpreted (sins of the whole world) as referring to every man, then strictly logically and exactly according to the rules of the Greek language, the terms “concerning (peri) the sins of the whole world” would be the Holy Spirit’s language to express Christ is the sum-total (inbegrip) of all reconciliation and propitiation, not only as concerning our sins, but also concerning the sins of all men. This would mean nothing more than “A different reconciliation than which is in Christ is inconceivable even to the unbelieving world.”
And the writer further states: “And in the foregoing we have already touched upon a third, and by no means lesser, mistake of those who vehemently insist on teaching general grace in Christ, to wit, they who conceive of the term ‘propitiation’ (verzoening) as if we read the ‘sacrificial offering’ (zoenoffer), or if you will that the same terms were employed here as we read in Romans 3:25, where Paul writes ‘Whom God hath set forth to be the place of propitiation (hilasterion) for our sins through faith in his blood.’ Meanwhile that is not at all the case here. In Romans 3:25 Paul employs a term which refers to the means of reconciliation, and where Christ is presented as the one who brings about the reconciliation. But here, even as in I John 4:10, we find a wholly different word, which does not refer to the means by which the reconciliation is realized, but which indicates the act, the essence, the sum-total of the reconciliation and expiation itself.”
And once more we let Dr. Kuyper speak, where he writes: “Naturally we do not herewith deny at all that Jesus truly and really became the offering for our sins in his blood, which represents all the sins of all the elect before the face of God, but we would only assert, that in this passage something more encompassing is taught, to wit, the ‘silencing of the wrath of God against sin’ in its entire and full compass, as it touches the sphere of life, and this expiation as rooted in the whole Messianic-personality of the Christ. He is the only author of this reconciliation. It is all in Him.” And further, “The apostle, states nothing more than what we may paraphrase as follows: There are believers and unbelievers. Both have sin which lies under God’s wrath. This wrath can only be silenced by means of reconciliation. And he who now will seek reconciliation, be it then for the sins of believers or unbelievers, cannot find such reconciliation except in Christ Jesus. For Christ and reconciliation are one!”
On page 317, Vol. III (Theological Dictionary of The New Testament) we quote from Buchsel who agrees with Dr. Kuyper’s interpretation that the term here in I John 2:2 is “Hilasmos” as meaning “the action in which God is propitiated and expiated. It is the ransom price, it is what appeases.” And this term is only used by John in the Bible. Perhaps this is over against the teachings of the Gnostics who taught another way of salvation. Jesus is this propitiation. There is none other besides Him. For He sacrificed Himself through the eternal Spirit. (Hebrews 9:14) This cuts off all “common grace” too of the universalist who teaches that Christ made salvation in God’s intent possible for all!
This agrees with the context also. For the apostle is writing here to “the little children.” We have an advocate with the Father. Jesus came to save His people from their sins. He is not the Savior of every man head for head. This is clearly not the teaching here at all, as should be evident to all Bible students who are honest and do not pervert the Scriptures to their own destruction. If any of you sin, little children, we have an advocate with the Father, and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.
Does that sound contradictory? We shall explain this in the next essay.