The Person of Christ - 31 - Advocacy

 

Chapter 31- The Present Ministry of Christ

The Advocacy of Christ

Harold S. Paisley

 

God?s answer to the heartless rejection of the Lord Jesus, by the world, is the glorification and exaltation of Christ. ?God also hath highly exalted Him? (Phil. 2:9). The risen Lord at the right hand of the Father has now entered into many wondrous and important offices. Upon these rest the well-being and happiness of all His people. He is the Head of the church, the Shepherd of the flock, the Great High Priest over the house of God, the Bridegroom who will soon return for His bride, and the hidden King waiting the day of His reign. One of the least understood offices of our Lord Jesus and yet one of the most vital to the family of God is the office of Christ as Advocate. We will consider this interesting matter in three aspects.

 

THE FUNCTION OF THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST

 

His advocacy is closely linked with His Priesthood, yet is distinct from it. This delightful subject is one that deserves more attention. To distinguish things that differ will produce a greater understanding of this office.

 

There is only one passage where direct reference is made to our Lord Jesus Christ in this capacity. ?If any man (believer) sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the nghteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world? (I John 2:2 R.V.).

Here we notice the differences between priesthood and advocacy. The Priest is with God, but the Advocate is with the Father. The Priest has to do with infirmities, never with sins (Heb.4:15), while the Advocate had to do with sins. The High Priest sustains the worship of His people within the holiest, while the Advocate secures the people of God in their family privileges when sin has interfered. The Lord Jesus as the Great High Priest sustains all His people and as the Advocate He maintains our position before God.

 

The blessed function of Christ as Advocate is evident from the meaning of the word and its usage in the New Testament. It is well known to those who study words, that the word translated advocate is paraclete. This precious word is used by John four times in his Gospel to designate the Person of the Holy Spirit. In the upper room ministry of Christ he promised another Comforter, the same as Himself, to be the guide, teacher and comforter of His people during His absence from them (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:17).

The Holy Spirit, as a divine Person, proceedeth from the Father. We have One above, who is called to our side to maintain us with the Father; and we also have One below who maintains us in our pilgrimage to the Father. An Advocate below and an Advocate above is the blessed portion of every child of God.

Our Advocate is entrusted with our cause. When a believer sins, the enjoyment of fellowship with the Father is interrupted, but his position is never changed, because the presence of the Advocate maintains that eternal place.

 

The words of the key verses already quoted should be considered carefully. ?If any man sin? that is any believer. This is very personal, showing that the Advocate is for every child of God. We have an Advocate ?with the Father? as the common comforter of all the Lord?s people. It is a great delight to be able to say ?We have a Great High Priest? and also to say ?We have an Advocate with the Father.?

 

It should be noted that it does not say ?If any man confess his sin? or ?if any man repent of his sin.? The words are, ?If any sin.? The Advocate is there, in the presence of the Father, He sustains and maintains the believer. He is our Advocate at all times and His work is not contingent upon our confession or repentance. The Advocate is needed as soon as I sin; His work is immediately effective so that my position is maintained. Confession is necessary to restore the enjoyment of fellowship, but this is my condition. The Advocate is engaged in the great work of maintaining me positionally.

 

THE FOUNDATION OF THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST.

 

The Advocacy of Christ is unfailing and unchanging because it is based upon a firm foundation, that is (1) His Person, (2) His work. Christ is presented in all His perfections as ?Jesus Christ, the righteous.? He is the sinless One, whose absolute righteousness marks Him out from all others. This is our Advocate with the Father, who appears before His throne on behalf of sinning saints. Not only is He the righteous One, but He is also the propitiation for our sins. While in Romans 3:25, it is the place where the propitiation was made that is in view, here, in I John 2:2 it is the person who accomplished the sacrifice that has given complete satisfaction to the outraged throne of God.

By reason, therefore, of the propitiation He accomplished, the righteous One carries on His prevailing ministry as the Advocate with the Father on the behalf of sinning saints. The majesty and dignity of the Person of the Lord Jesus, and the infinite value and efficacy of His precious blood, unite in His constant and effective ministry as the Advocate.

 

THE FRUIT OF THE ADVOCACY OF CHRIST

 

John wrote his epistle to preserve the saints from sinning. Albeit all believers do sin and fellowship with the Father is interrupted. Even though sin breaks our fellowship, the Lord Jesus maintains our union with the Father by His advocacy. Though the position of the child of God is stable, his condition may be unsuitable to fellowship. The Advocate above maintains the child in the family; the Advocate below ever prompts the child of God, through the Word of God, to maintain a condition that is in agreement with his position. The Word, thus applied, causes confession, cleansing and restoration. This cleansing is on the ground of the precious blood of Christ. ?The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin? (I John 1:7). It cannot mean that the blood is constantly applied, for the continual cleansing of the child of God. John is speaking of the essential nature of the sacrifice of Christ, it is ever efficacious in its power.

The ashes of the red heifer and the living water cleansed from defilement and restored the defiled Israelite. The ashes point to the ?once for all? sacrifice of Christ, who is the Advocate above, while the water points to the Advocate who is with us here on earth. May we appreciate the Person of the Lord Jesus as He appears in the presence of the Father for us, and the Holy Spirit who appears at our side from the Father. Both are comforters, called alongside to help us, as we journey to the Glory, where sin and infirmity will be forever past.