"If any man sins, we have an Advocate with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."—1 John 2:1
Similitudes of Jesus are indeed an overflowing cup. They
sparkle as the starry firmament. It has been fully stated, that nature's
varied forms and the treasures of art and science abound with such
illustrations. The adjuncts also of regal rule and legal courts add to these
stores of teaching. Not only is He the supreme Sovereign, wielding the
scepter of unbounded sway; not only is He the Judge, to whom all judgment is
committed; not only is He the Counselor and Intercessor; He is exhibited,
moreover, as the Advocate. Thus faith is aided constantly to testify "Christ
On Him as our Advocate let adoration now be riveted. Let
a legal court with its appendages be imagined. The judgment is set. The
Judge in solemn pomp is seated. A criminal trembles at the bar. An accuser
states the cause. An Advocate, learned in the rules of law, offers defense.
Such is a general view.
Let thought now travel to the final judgment-seat, and
let a sinner be regarded as the culprit at the bar. Many are the charges
pressed against him. Long is the roll of indictment. Grievous are its
contents. All belong to one class—sin. All are forms of transgression of the
law of God, rebellion against the Majesty of Heaven. Thus they are many as
the fleeting particles of time. For as the law demands unsullied love at
every moment, and in every movement of the mind, it is incontrovertible that
every moment is laden with accusation.
Let it be supposed that the offender is thus arraigned.
Are witnesses needed to support the charges? They attend in ready crowds.
The comrades of wickedness, the accomplices in crime, the casual beholders,
the people who have shared the guilt, give evidence. But the main proofs
proceed from conscience, that inward witness whose ever-watchful eye has
marked and registered the course of life. Against such evidence denial must
be vain. Confession stammers from each lip, These deeds are mine; thus have
I acted; these sins belong to me; no charge is exaggerated; in all these
points I am a violator of the law of God.
Scripture tells that an accuser calls for condemnation.
Satan is truly branded as "the accuser of the brethren;" when his final doom
is announced, he is depicted as he "which accused them before our God day
and night." (Rev. 12:10) No sacred place excluded his vile approach, no
holiness daunted him; his effrontery knew no check. He assailed innocence in
Eden's garden. He solicited the Son of God in the wild horrors of the
wilderness. He extended his foul touch to convey Jesus to the pinnacle of
the temple. So now he uses his last effort to effect destruction. Such is
his hate, such is his malignant wish to have our race as his victims, such
is his unceasing desire to bear them captives to his cell, that he is
represented as appearing in court to prevent acquittal, to offer proof that
the accused are his, to show that God's truth condemns them, that His
righteousness excludes them from the kingdom into which righteousness alone
can enter. Oh! that the eyes of men were open to the malignities of this
foul fiend! Oh! that they would discern his crafty arts and foul attempts!
Could they then lend their ears so readily to his insinuations; could they
so eagerly snatch his baited hooks; could they serve him whose life is to
make them wretched, and to fill hell with weeping and wailing and gnashing
With conscience so condemning, with an accuser so bitter,
so fierce, so cognizant of facts, can the prisoners cherish one ray of hope?
Must not despair unnerve the heart, and downcast looks await the merited
But there is hope—fresh, lively, bright. An Advocate
appears able and willing to befriend a culprit so palpable in guilt. But can
any undertake a case so desperate? Yes. The Advocate is "Jesus Christ the
The Father views Him with delight. He sees His Son—His
only-begotten, His well-beloved Son, His co-partner in majesty and glory. On
earth Jesus said, "I know that You always hear Me." (John 11:42) Reluctant
audience will not now be granted.
The culprit anxiously turns to view this Advocate. It is
his Jesus, who loved him with an everlasting love, who gave Himself for him,
who endured all shame, all misery, all suffering on his behalf, who left
nothing undone to effect redemption. Surely now He will use all efforts in
his behalf! Would not a father plead warmly for a beloved son, a mother for
the child of her womb, a brother for the fellow-offspring of his home, a
friend for the companion whom he loves as the close inhabitant of his heart,
the ardent bridegroom for the partner of his bosom? The believer realizes
that Jesus sustains all these relationships. He feels, then, that this
Advocate will plead with all energy and zeal and power to save him; that
each argument will be urged with constraining might, and all reasoning
strive to obtain deliverance.
The question next occurs, "Why is this Advocate
now present?" It is not a slight motive which impels Him. Every feeling,
which brought Him down from heaven and placed Him a willing victim on the
altar of the cross, now burns with undiminished fervor. He is urged by zeal
for His Father's glory. His Father's honor would be tarnished if one
perished who had been entrusted to His care. God's glory is involved in
their salvation. For this, then, the Advocate must plead; and if He fails,
heaven cannot sound the Father's everlasting praise.
Love, also, for His people warms His tongue.
He comes flying on the wings of love, striding in the strength of love,
riding in the chariot of love. He feels that those for whom Satan is now
striving are the children begotten by His grace, the travail of His soul,
the purchase of His blood, the offspring of His agony and death; His sister,
His spouse, His beloved, around whom His heart has been entwined before time
was, the portion of His Father's gift and of His loving choice; His jewels,
His crown, the signet ring on His right hand, the sheep of His pasture, His
wealth, His treasure, His delight, the members of His mystic body, the very
apple of His eye. Thus Jesus loves them, and in love appears as their
The Advocate may have all favor in the court, the clients
may repose confiding trust in Him, His desire to win the cause may be
unbounded, His every energy may be strained to gain success—but
insurmountable obstacles may intervene. If the rules and decrees of the
court be adverse, justice must prevail, impartial sentence must be given,
guilt must be condemned, the statutes of the realm must be inviolably
This the Advocate well knows. All His pleadings uphold
the known decrees. He calls for favorable sentence, on the broad ground that
the law requires acquittal, and renders condemnation alike illegal and
unjust. He demands the statute-book. He turns to the articles of the
Covenant of Grace. The principle of substitution is there allowed. It is
enacted that a proxy, in every way qualified, may occupy the sinner's place,
pay all his debts, endure all his penalties, make full expiation, and render
vicarious obedience, and thus avert all punishment.
The Advocate maintains that He has worked and suffered as
the substitute; that He was qualified, because He had assumed man's nature;
that infinity belonged to His every act of merit and of suffering, because
He never could be less than very and eternal God.
The sinner boldly awaits the issue. The accuser states
the multiplied offences, and establishes that death is due for each. The
Advocate presents no contradiction of offence, but forcibly rejoins, The
death denounced has been endured; in My person the sinner died on Calvary's
cross; he was crucified in Me. Who is he who now condemns! Christ died is
full reply to all demands for the transgressor's death.
If the accuser presses that the Law has uttered its
inexorable curse against every violation of perfect, pure, unsullied love,
the Advocate replies: The total curse has been endured. On Me in fullest
measure it has been outpoured. It is written, "Cursed is every one who hangs
on a tree." On the accursed tree I was suspended, and on Me the whole
vengeance fell. If the importunate accuser reiterates that justice must have
its dues, the Advocate replies, Where is the debt which is not fully paid!
What satisfaction is not adequately made!
Thus every charge is met. Justice acknowledges that no
more is due. Truth testifies that it is amply honored. Justice would cease
to be just if punishment could be twice inflicted, and the sinner who
suffered in the person of his substitute could be required himself to
The court is just, and pronounces acquittal on all for
whom Christ died. It is forever true, "There is therefore now no
condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1) Thus the Advocate
prevails. Believer, bless Him, praise Him, extol Him, adore Him, more and
more, now and forever. He gains your cause. In Him you are eternally
acquitted from wrath.
This name of Jesus suggests some slighter thoughts which
tend to enliven faith and fill the soul with consolations. Advocates in
earthly courts may have high fame, and plead with wondrous skill, and rarely
fail to win successful a outcome. But invariable victory cannot be presumed.
Failure may sometimes blight the man most learned, and the tongue most
eloquent. Some adverse pleader may be summoned, more trained in rhetoric,
more versed in precedents, more mighty in ingenious reasoning. Thus a cause
apparently secure may suffer damage in the end.
Such discomfiture cannot befall our great Advocate. "In
Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:3) He is
wise, the only wisdom. He is the source of all intellect. No genius glows
which is not kindled by Him. The tongue of learning is His gift. Thus none
can surpass Him. All who commit themselves to Him are sure of victory. O my
soul, entrust all your matters to this Advocate.
Earthly advocates grow old, their strength declines,
their vigor languishes. The tongue, once so unrivaled, ceases to
electrify. Weakened powers no longer command admiring plaudits and unfailing
victory. Far other is the case with Jesus. Immortal vigor is His property.
Rolling years can bring no change. In all preeminence He is "the same
yesterday, and today, and forever." (Heb. 13:8) Can age enfeeble Deity!
Jesus is ever fresh in all the powers of immortal being. O my soul, entrust
your cause to this Advocate, who ever lives to plead in all the might of
Earthly Advocates exact large price. Their eloquence
is bought by golden baits. The wealthy may command their energies. Poverty
seldom obtains help from earthly barristers. Look now to Jesus. Riches have
no charms for Him. The poorest applicant from the lowliest hut is regarded
with like favor as the monarch of the stateliest palace. His advocacy is
granted "without money and without price." All who flee to Him in penitence
and faith, all who receive Him as their full salvation, in lowest station
and extremest need, may gain unfailing Advocacy from Him.
Happy believer, view your precious Jesus! He is salvation
to the utmost. Study Him, love Him, adore Him more and more. Clasp to your
heart of hearts the truth, Christ is my Advocate; He is my All.