My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 Jn 2:1-2 ESV)
Have you ever owed a debt that seemed impossible to repay? It probably felt like a heavy load on your back that couldn’t be lifted. No matter how hard you worked, you knew that you could never repay the amount owed. Perhaps the load was lifted when someone else stepped in and paid the amount in full on your behalf. Do you remember the relief you felt when the debt was cancelled?
In spiritual terms, all humankind owes a debt that we cannot repay. It is the debt of sin. Sin can be defined as an act or attitude that brings offense to God. All of us have sinned against God and fallen short of His glory. (See Romans 3:23) Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, we were born into sin and have been bent toward sin ever since. We need a solution to this problem that only God can offer!
The fact that you are reading this article means that you have at least sensed a need for Christ to forgive you. If you have acted on that need by asking God, through Jesus His son, for forgiveness, you are a believer. Being a believer does not mean that you will never sin again. In fact, you probably will! But, because you have a relationship with Christ that is built on His sacrifice and forgiveness you are entitled to a great defense!
John describes Jesus as an advocate. An advocate is someone who speaks up for us when we can’t find a way to speak up for ourselves. Imagine Jesus standing before God the Father and taking up your cause. He tells His Father that indeed, you are guilty of the charges, but reminds God the Father that because of your faith in Him and because Christ paid for all of our sins once and for all on the cross of Calvary, that you are worthy of forgiveness. The sin debt you owe is paid in full!
Now before you imagine that your forgiveness through Christ is like a license to do evil and get away with it, consider the words of the Apostle John:
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:3-6)
In other words, when we receive God’s forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, God not only settles our debt to Him, but He sets us on a different path in life. Instead of trying to please ourselves through sinful actions, we attempt to please God through faithful living. Understanding the debt that has been lifted off or our backs gives us the hope that we can live better lives.
Looking at your own life, has your life taken a new direction since you discovered Christ’s forgiveness? If not, you can ask Jesus to set you on the right course now. He will forgive your sins and become your advocate with God. If you answered yes, you can ask God to help you live in a way that points other people toward Christ and His offer of forgiveness. He is faithful to act on your behalf and ensure that you live a powerful life of faith.