But If Anyone Does

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 John 2:1-2


            Among the truths revealed about God through the pages of the scriptures, his holiness is everywhere seen.  He is the one too pure to look upon evil, the one who judges all sin, and the one who filled the temple with glory so that no one could enter.  When people saw God they were usually terrified and found it hard to believe they survived.  God’s holiness permeates the scriptures. 

            Many cultures continue to see this as the defining mark of God.  Eastern and Muslim communities which operate out of a shame and honor system tend to see God’s holiness as the main truth about him.  Among some Christians, God’s holiness is the central truth that captures their attention.  God is holy and so sin is despised!

            The truth that comes as a surprise to those who most see God’s holiness is his grace.  He is a God who chooses to love and to save sinners.  He is the God who is gives his favor freely and without merit.  This is most clearly revealed at the cross where Jesus died as the sacrifice for the sins of those God intended to save.  This is what is meant when Jesus is called a “Propitiation.”  He is the sacrifice which takes our punishment and allows God to be favorable to us.

            Now, as Christians, we know we are meant to walk in holiness as those who have received undeserved favor.  The truth is, however, we do this imperfectly.  We stumble.  We struggle.  We are not yet perfected!  This is why I appreciate 1 John 2. 

            The goal is that we not sin.  However, if we do, we have an advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous.  He is the righteous one without fault.  He is the one who gives us HIS righteousness.  He is the one who speaks on our behalf in heaven.  He is the one who paid the price for our sins, including our current ones.  No matter how long we walk with the Lord, we continue to depend upon grace – his undeserved favor poured out on us. 

            When we stumble, we repent and know that the Righteous One speaks on our behalf.  Depend on God’s grace rather than your own efforts and experience the peace that he offers. 

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