My little children, these things I write 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 the whole world. 1 John 1:1-2 NKJV
An advocate speaks up for others and looks out for them. A teacher friend of mine told me about a student who was getting bullied. Another student saw this and it made her mad, so she took her bullied classmate to the teacher to find some justice in the situation. The other student had nothing to gain personally by stepping in as an advocate, but she could not just watch this happen and do nothing to help.
Another teacher friend of mine told me about a student who is always leaving his assignments on his desk, forgetting to turn them in. Another student will often see the other student forgetting to turn in his work and will pick it up and turn it in for him. The thoughtful student has nothing to gain by his kindness. He is simply looking out for his forgetful classmate. The thoughtful student is an advocate for his forgetful friend. You may think the forgetful student just needs to remember to turn in his work, and you are right, but hasn’t Jesus acted as an advocate for you, even when you were undeserving?
How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour…. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor [assist or aid] those who are tempted. Our crucified Lord is pleading for us in the presence of the Father at the throne of grace. His atoning sacrifice we may plead for our pardon, our justification, and our sanctification. The Lamb slain is our only hope. Our faith looks up to Him, grasps Him as the One who can save to the uttermost, and the fragrance of the all-sufficient offering is accepted of the Father. If you make failures and are betrayed into sin, do not feel then you cannot pray … but seek the Lord more earnestly. The blood of Jesus is pleading with power and efficacy for those who are backslidden, for those who are rebellious, for those who sin against great light and love. Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our Advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf…. He is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones. With upraised hands He pleads, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16. I would I might sound the glad note to earth’s remotest bounds. “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Oh, precious redemption! How broad this great truth is—that God for Christ’s dear sake, forgives us the moment we ask Him in living faith, believing that He is fully able! –Ellen White, Our High Calling, Page 49.
Jesus is not just our advocate when we are righteous; He is our advocate when we are sinning against great light! Jesus is truly a friend of sinners. In Psalm 32:1-6, David writes about confessing his sin to Jesus and finding forgiveness. Then he says,
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
David does not call God his hiding place when he is doing everything right, but in the context of when he is doing everything wrong. The sanctuary is a safe place. The sanctuary is a safe place for sinners. In the sanctuary service, sinners find forgiveness and healing from sin. Satan offers the sinner no safety, no forgiveness and no healing. Satan’s plan is to destroy sinners. Jesus is the sinner’s only friend, as Jesus offers a safe place in His sanctuary. Jesus offers forgiveness and healing from sin. When you sin against great light, Satan is not your friend! Jesus is the sinner’s only friend.
The Bible is chock full of promises like 1 Corinthians 10:13, promising us we do not have to give in to sin. The Bible is clear there is no excuse for sin. John writes in 1 John 2:1 that we are not to sin. John goes on to tell us, though, that if we do sin — Go to Jesus! Jesus is your advocate. Jesus is the one pleading your case when you fall victim to the bully Satan. Jesus is the one looking out for you when you forget your homework or forget to claim a Bible promise keeping us from sin. Jesus is the sinner’s friend and advocate.