Good News for Struggling Christians
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 ESV)
These verses struck me as I was working through 1 John 2 tonight. John writes, “so that you may not sin.” He sets out with this purpose, but clearly recognizes that Christians still sin. He doesn’t take that opportunity to beat us up for our failure. Rather, he points to our advocate. Jesus stands at the Father’s side, reminding Him, not of our failure to live up to his righteous standard, but of his own righteousness on our behalf. Christ pleads the merits of his blood, shed for us.
The word translated propitiation here, likely refers both to the satisfaction of the Father’s wrath against sin and to the expiation – the wiping away of our sin. The propitiation means that God is no longer angry. We no longer need to fear punishment! Jesus took our punishment! And not only this, but he is continually our righteousness, and every time we sin, he wipes the slate clean!
What good news this is to us as we struggle! Jesus Christ the righteous is our advocate! And so we say with the psalmist “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you!” (Ps 73:25)