Once, when our insurance company refused to pay some legitimate claims (totaling thousands of dollars), we had to get an attorney involved. Thankfully, he was able to accomplish what we couldn’t. Without him, though, we would not have had a chance. We had reasoned all we could. We had made every call we could make. We had sent in every document they asked for. They said no. We appealed. Their committee said no. We had only one chance left. We sought professional help. We needed an advocate – someone with authority in the justice system. A few weeks later, the insurance people apologized and paid the bills – finally.
Spiritually, we owe an enormous amount of debt. It keeps adding up. In this case, we have no legitimacy in which to file a claim. The debt is ours. The One to whom we owe the debt could rightly send us to prison because we have no means to pay those bills – whatsoever.
Enter our advocate Jesus. He knows we owe that debt and we can’t pay, but He has absolute authority in the spiritual justice system. He doesn’t make any calls. He doesn’t write any letters. He doesn’t have to. He is the One we owe. He does something remarkable. He pays our debt for us. Our bills are stamped “paid in full” never to be drudged up again.
The reason God does this is hard to comprehend. He does it for His own sake. God’s standard is perfection so if we are to fellowship with Him, our sin debt must disappear – forever. Our holy and just heavenly Father demonstrated His love with the gift of the perfect life, sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son. “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).
There is no committee that meets to consider our debt problem, but there is a judgment rendered. In His courtroom, He is prosecutor, defender and judge. The case is presented. Prosecutor (the law of God) makes the case. Our defender (Jesus) knows we are guilty. His plea is not that we are innocent, but He and the Judge have decided that He be allowed to take our punishment on Himself. Even though the cost is great both to the righteous Judge and His innocent Advocate, the substitution is accepted. His innocence is then transferred to us – the ones who deserved a guilty verdict but through faith in Christ became a child of God.
God’s standards did not change for us once we became part of His family. He wants us to be holy as He is holy. As God’s children, we have escaped God’s wrath for eternal damnation, but we can still cause Him grief by continuing to sin. I think the sins of a child of God must cause Him more pain than sins of an unbeliever. We should know better. We should be grateful our debt has been paid.
Our sin separated us from God and crucified His Son. The sins of His children can pierce the heart of the Father by treating the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus lightly. Amazingly, His grace continues to work to bring us into right standing with the Father.
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 (1 John 2:1).