Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

1 John 2:1-2 - Our Advocate with the Father

The matters addressed by John in chapter one of his letter indicate that wrong teaching was having a disastrous effect on Christian fellowship. (In passing we may note that there is an unhelpful chapter division here because the points of 1 John 2:1-2 are connected to the preceding verses rather than to the subsequent text.) In chapter one John describes how a denial of the presence of sin had prevented meaningful fellowship between Christians and also between Christians and God. Therefore, John explains three essential features of true fellowship: (1) such fellowship must be based on the person, work and teachings of Jesus; (2) true fellowship demands ongoing consecration of life, a consecration that is maintained by the ongoing cleansing of the saints by the blood of Christ; and (3) true fellowship includes regular and appropriate confession of sin in order to enjoy a sense of forgiveness.

Throughout this letter John will explain other aspects of true fellowship. But before he completes this section of his letter, John stresses a very important detail of fellowship with God. Perhaps John had anticipated a person saying, What happens in heaven when I confess my sin? If fellowship involves interaction with the Father and the Son, what do they do when I confess my sins?The answer to such questions is very similar to the basic answer that the Bible gives to most spiritual dilemmas, which is that we need to understand the activities of Jesus Christ.

Of course, it is true to say that people are familiar with some of the activities of Jesus such as his miracles or with his teachings such as the Sermon on the Mount. They have knowledge about his death on Calvary and of some of the details of his subsequent resurrection from the tomb. In addition, they will have an awareness of his second coming, that he promised to return and gather his people into heaven after judging the world. The area of Jesuswork about which people have little knowledge is his current activity in heaven. Yet the Bible has a great deal to say about what he is doing there. And John directs his readers to consider an important heavenly activity of Jesus in describing him as the Advocate with the Father.

Obviously, this role that John is referring to involves representation by Jesus. Who is he representing? He acts on behalf of his people, and he does so constantly. So at this moment, if we are Christians, he represents us in heaven even although we are on earth. This should be a wonderful encouragement for us. We will think more about this activity of Jesus in tomorrow’s reading.

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