Meditations in 1 John : 10 : Jesus the Intercessor
1 John 2:1 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.
We have made reference to this verse before but it is so significant that we need to look at it in more depth now. As a pastor for quite a number of years, it has always worried me, the lack of assurance that so many Christians have. It may be accentuated when they hear the challenges of the crusading atheists of the twenty first century, together with an unsympathetic media, but it arises, I am convinced, in people who have not been well taught.
The particular lack of assurance that comes to mind in the light of this verse is that very simple assurance that God is for you. Now to some this may appear stupid having to say this, but the reality is that there are many Christians who, when the way gets difficult for whatever reason (illness, negative circumstances etc. etc.), start to question what God thinks about them. They are suddenly unsure about His intentions towards them. It may be when you have been praying your heart out for something and no answer comes. It may be when everything suddenly goes pear-shaped. It is natural, it is human, at such times to question and even David the psalmist did it (again and again). It simply means we have to grab hold of the truth and let it bring us back into a place of reassurance.
Around the New Testament there are various such assurances. For our purpose the first one is here in this verse. John tells us that when we blow it, Jesus is speaking up for us to the Father. Note this: he does NOT sit there and moan about how useless we have turned out to be, but he speaks to the Father “in our defense” In a previous meditation I said, I imagine him turning to the Father and saying, “Father, I died for them. Please send the Spirit to draw them back to us, send Him to draw them back into that daily relationship with us, for I have done my part by dying for them, so their sins are dealt with.”
When the apostle Paul was writing to the Galatians, he said, “if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” (Gal 6:1). That is God’s intention that we be restored. He is for us – even when we blow it.
To the Romans Paul asked a rhetorical question: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) His clear implication, his starting point, is that God IS for us! Then he comes up with an incredible piece of logic: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (v.32) You want to know how God is FOR us? He didn’t spare His own Son in bringing salvation to us. Now, as the outworking of that salvation, He just gives and gives and gives. Paul goes on about how God has justified us (v.33) and how Jesus is interceding for us (v.34) – just like John says – so that nothing but nothing but nothing can separate us from God’s love. THAT is how much He is for us!
Paul is telling us the same things that John told us in his Gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” (Jn 3:16-18) How can we think that God is not for us when He sent Jesus to die for us and has given us eternal life? And what is that eternal life? It is life in His Spirit who He has given to us, who indwells us. You can’t get much more committed than that – putting part of yourself into those who previously had been your enemies!!!!
So when we get it wrong, don’t think that God writes you off; He doesn’t! When you blow it, don’t think God’s big hand of correction is coming to smash you down; it isn’t. When you have fallen and are in the dust, don’t think you are all alone: you’re not! When any of these things happen, Jesus is there interceding with the Father on our behalf to send resources to restore us. Why? Because he loves us and has given his life for us!
You want to know what He feels about you as part of His church? Listen to Paul, recorded by Luke in Acts: “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28) There he’s only saying what we’ve read elsewhere but he’s put it in such a way that it triggers a further thought. Suppose, ladies, your husband went out to buy you a very special ring and, in the process of getting it, ended up being killed? How would you think about that ring? I suspect it would be incredibly precious to you. You could never look at it without thinking of your dead husband. Yes, you will no doubt regret that he gave his life to get it for you, but now you have it, it will be incredibly precious to you. Don’t you think Jesus must feel the same way when he looks at us? “I gave my life to get you to this point!”
Wow! Gemstones are precious because they are rare and costly. Do you not think that God feels we are precious to Him, having gone to all the trouble He’s gone to, to save us? Is He going to give up on us now, just because we fell over our feet? No way! He’s going to continue to do what He’s always done – everything He can to ensure we come through and finish the race.
That’s just the conviction that Paul had: “I always pray with joy ….. being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:4-6) I’m going to carry on praying for each of you, says Paul, because I’m convinced it is God’s will that He is for you and is going to keep on being for you until He’s able to complete it on the last day when He winds everything up. Until then, though, He’s for you and will keep on being for you! He’s not a quitter! So get up out of the dirt, dust yourself down, confess to Him that you blew it, receive His forgiveness and His love and get on with life again. There’s lots more good stuff to come!