In our study of 1 John we have been talking about what it means to live in grace. We have reminded ourselves that if we are to experience the joy of living in grace, we need to continually come back to the cross; to live our lives in the shadow of Calvary.
The Apostle John wanted to make sure that his readers understand this truth, so he gives us a beautiful picture of the ultimate expression of God's grace and how it works in our lives. He writes:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)
We have an advocate; One who appears with you and speaks on your behalf. Jesus does that for us. He comes alongside to support us and to plead our case before the Father. Not because God is reluctant to forgive but because we would not have an argument in our own defence. Which begs the question, on that day when you stand before God, will you stand alone or will you have an Advocate who speaks in your defence?
In Christ we not only have a righteous advocate, we have One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. This language would bring to the mind of John's readers a very graphic Old Testament picture, the Day of Atonement.
Once a year, the Chief Priest would make a sacrifice as a sin offering. He would take the blood of an animal and pour it over the Ark of the Covenant to atone for the sins of the people. Year after the year the blood flowed, until the day came when God’s Son, Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross, once and for all, as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The Father accepts the blood of His Son as payment for your sins. Therefore, He will not demand payment from you. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) The blood of Christ was shed for you; forgiveness and grace is available to you because of the cross. No wonder the hymn-writer would declare: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
If you want to experience the forgiveness of God and to live in the grace of God, look to Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. His grace is sufficient not only to save but to grant to us the privilege and joy of living continually in His grace. Because we know our sins are forgiven and that we have a right standing before God because of the cross of Christ. And because of that, we can then have a confident faith!
My friends at Valley, do you have that kind of confidence faith? Do you know the grace of my Lord?