< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: 1st John 2:1-2

Thursday, May 17, 2007

1st John 2:1-2

1st John 2:1-2 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

A commentator once wrote that there are hardly any other two verses in the New Testament, which so succinctly set out the work of Christ. We don’t treat sin lightly even though we know God will forgive us because we’ve already learned that to know God goes hand in hand with obedience to Him. We know that God doesn’t want us to sin and we know that an obedient life follows the example of Christ and He was sinless.

The work of Christ that is spelled out in these verses is: He is our advocate with the Father. There is a story that what Christ does can be likened to a courtroom, where Satan, the great accuser is telling God all of our sins and demanding the death penalty. Christ is our defender who tells God that the punishment was already taken care of. The price has been paid and we aren’t eligible to be tried again. That would be double jeopardy.

But, even more than that the word advocate comes from the Greek word parakletos, which also translates as comforter, counselor, helper and supporter. It was such a common word that other languages back then didn’t translate it. It was the same word in Syriac, Egyptian, Arabic and Ethiopic. The Jews adopted this word and used it for someone to plead another’s cause. They used it as the opposite of the accuser. They even called their sin offering “a man’s parakletos before God” meaning that the sin offering pleads a man’s cause with God.

The word came into the Christian’s ordinary vocabulary and sometimes was used as “one who lends his presence to friends.” And that’s what Jesus is. Our friend.

He is also the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation comes from sacrifice and the Jews understand this better then the Gentiles. The great aim of all religions is fellowship with God. To know God as a friend and to come into His presence without fear. It is a personal relationship with God.

The great problem is sin and the fact it breaks our fellowship with God and it makes it impossible to enter the presence of God. It is to meet this problem that all sacrifice arises. By sacrifice God allows fellowship to be restored. The Jews offered sacrifices morning, noon and night. Over and over again. The idea is that God is placated by the sacrifice. Pacified. Some deed is performed that what Jesus did, placated God. Satisfied Him, so that He, Jesus, is our propitiation. What He did took away our guilt and our defilement and allowed us to come into God’s presence clean and pure.

And John says Jesus did this for the whole world. There is no limit to the grace and love of God or to the effectiveness and the work and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

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