1 John 2:1
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate before the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
Brooks -- the Pride of LifeGrenville Kleiser1 John 2:1
Our Advocate and PropitiationW. Jones 1 John 2:1, 2
Believers Exhorted not to SinB. W. Noel, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateW. F. Ireland, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our AdvocateJ. Gibbs.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Advocate with the FatherJames Fenton, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our PropitiationE. Hoare, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
Christ Our Propitiatory Sacrifice and Our AdvocateD. Inglis.1 John 2:1-6
Christ the Advocate of SinnersEssex Remembrancer1 John 2:1-6
Christian SinDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Christians have Delicate Perceptions of SinSteinhofer.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Acquaintance with Man's CaseC. Stanford.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's IntercessionS. Charnock, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Christ's Intercession1 John 2:1-6
For the Sins of the Whole WorldSword and Trowel.1 John 2:1-6
Insufficiency of the Subjective View of the AtonementG. S. Barrett, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Is There a Doctrine of the Atonement in ScriptureJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man Lives in a Redeemed WorldR. W. Dale, LL. D.1 John 2:1-6
Man's Advocate with the FatherD. Thomas, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Nature and Ground of Christ's Advocacy as Meeting the Need of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
Our Advocate on HighS. Martin.1 John 2:1-6
Preventatives Against SinW. Graham.1 John 2:1-6
Propitiation for SinC. New.1 John 2:1-6
Redemption for the Whole WorldW. Birch.1 John 2:1-6
Sin NotDudley Kidd.1 John 2:1-6
Sin Supposed: Sin Dealt withR. Finlayson 1 John 2:1-6
Sinless Aim of the Guileless SpiritR. S. Candlish, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Advocacy of ChristJ. Williams, M. A.1 John 2:1-6
The Gospel Prohibits SinC. Stanford, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Gracious ProvisionJ. O. Peck, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Intercession of ChristJ. Foot, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Knowledge of God Preventive of SinHugh Binning.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation IntelligibleJames Denney, D. D.1 John 2:1-6
The Propitiation of ChristGeorge Robson.1 John 2:1-6
The Sinner's AdvocateC. H. Spurgeon.1 John 2:1-6
The True PleaderG. Calvert.1 John 2:1-6
Warning and EncouragementJames Morgan, D. D.1 John 2:1-6

My little children, these things write I unto you, etc. Very tender and eminently Johannean is the opening of this paragraph. "My little children." The appellation suggests:

1. The spiritual paternity of the apostle. St. Paul addressed the same words to those Galatian Christians whom he had spiritually begotten (Galatians 4:19). He referred with great tenderness and force to the same relationship in writing to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:14, 15). Probably many of those to whom St. John was writing were his spiritual children.

2. The spiritual affection of the apostle. The use of the diminutive indicates this.

3. The spiritual authority of the apostle. His fatherly relation to them, his tender affection for them, and his venerable age combine to invest his words with authority. Our text teaches -

I. THAT THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST DISCOURAGES SIN. "These things write I unto you, that ye sin not." The "these things" are the statements made in chapter 1 John 1:6-10. The fact that sin exists even in the Christian is there affirmed, and gracious provision for the forgiveness of sin and for the sanctification of the believer is set forth. And now, in order that no one by reason of these things should look upon sin as inevitable, or regard it with tolerance, or fail to battle against it, St. John writes, "These things write I unto you, that ye sin not." St. Paul guards against the same misuse of the provisions of the rich grace of God thus: "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid" (Romans 6:1, 2). That the provisions of Divine grace for the pardon of sin afford no encouragement to its commission is proved by:

1. The object of Christ's mediatorial work. To "save his people from their sins." "He appeared to, put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (cf. Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10; Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:14).

2. The cost of Christ's mediatorial work. The great price at which pardon and salvation were rendered possible should powerfully deter from the practice of sin. "God spared not his own Son," etc.; "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,... but with the precious blood of Christ," etc. Since redemption from sin is so expensive a process, sin must be not a trifling, but a terrible evil.

3. The influence of Christ's mediatorial work. The love of God manifested in our Lord and Saviour is fitted to awaken our love to him. Love to God springs up in the heart of every one who truly believes in Jesus Christ; and love to God is the mightiest and most resolute antagonist of sin.


1. Our exposure to temptation. Sometimes we are confronted by our "adversary the devil, as a roaring lion." But more frequently are we in danger by reason of "the wiles of the devil." "Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light," that he may deceive souls and lead them into sin. We are also assailed by temptations in human society - temptations which are plausible and appear harmless, but which are full of peril to us.

2. The infirmity of our moral nature. There is that in us which is ready to respond to temptation. Thus temptations which appeal to our sensual appetites sometimes prove too strong for our spiritual principles, the sensual in us not being in complete subjection to the spiritual. Temptations which promise present pleasure or profit, but involve the risk of some of our most precious interests in the future, are sometimes successful because of defective spiritual perception or of moral weakness. This liability to sin is confirmed

(1) by the history of good men, e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses, Aaron, David, Peter;

(2) by our own experience.


1. Jesus Christ is our Representative with the Father. "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." The word translated "advocate" means one who is called to our side; then a Comforter, Helper, Advocate. "Representative" is a word which, perhaps, expresses the meaning here. Jesus Christ "appears before the face of God for us." He stands by us with his face directed towards the face of God the Father, obtaining for us the forgiveness and favour, the stimulus and strength which we need. As Professor Lias puts it, "We have One who stands by us παρά, yet looks toward πρὸς the Father, and who, one with us and with him, can enable us to do all things through his all-powerful aid." And he is "righteous." In this he is unlike us. We are unrighteous, and therefore unfit to appear before the face of God. But he, being perfectly righteous, is fitted to appear before God on our behalf.

2. Jesus Christ is also the Propitiation for our sins. "And he is the Propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." The primary meaning of "propitiation" was that which appeases or turns away the wrath of the gods from men. But we must take heed that we do not rashly apply the ideas of heathenism as to its gods, to the only living and true, the holy and gracious God. So much has been said and written concerning the propitiation, which seems to us to have no warrant in the sacred Scriptures, and much that has not been honourable to the holy and ever-blessed God and Father, that it is with diffidence that we venture upon any remarks concerning it. The New Testament does not give us any explanation of the propitiation; it presents us with no theory or scheme concerning it; it simply states it as a great fact in the Divine way of salvation. And it would have been well if the example of the sacred writers in this respect had been more generally followed. Here is the declaration of St. Paul: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a Propitiation, through faith, by his blood, to show his righteousness," etc. (Romans 3:24-26). Jesus Christ himself is said to be the Propitiation for our sins. No particular portion of his life or work, his sufferings or death, is specified in our text as constituting the propitiation. Christ, in the whole of his mediatorial ministry - life and work, sufferings and death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession - is our Propitiation. We venture to make two observations.

(1) The propitiation was not anything offered to God to render him willing to bless and save us. If proof of this were required, we have it in chapter 1 John 4:10: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our sins." God did not provide the propitiation to propitiate himself. Our Saviour is the Gift of the Father's love to us, not the Procurer of that love for us. It is nowhere said in the Scriptures that Christ reconciled God to man. Such reconciliation was never needed. The great Father was always disposed to bless and save man.

(2) The propitiation was designed to remove obstructions to the free flowing forth of the mercy of God to man. Here was an obstruction: man had broken the holy Law of God, had set it at naught, and was still doing so. But man cannot be pardoned while he stands in such an attitude and relation to Law. Love itself demands that Law shall be obeyed and honoured. True mercy can only be exercised in harmony with righteousness. The well-being of man is an impossibility except he be won to loyalty to the Law of God. Jesus Christ vindicated the solemn authority of God's holy Law by his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. Again, there was an obstruction in the heart of man to the free flowing forth of the mercy of God to him. Man regarded God with distrust and suspicion, if not with enmity. "Alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works" is the apostolic description of unrenewed man. The propitiation was designed to reconcile man to God, and dispose him to accept the offered salvation. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself." The sacrifice of Christ is the supreme manifestation of the infinite love of God towards man (cf. John 3:16; Romans 5:8). When that love is heartily believed in, man is reconciled to God; he no longer regards him as an enemy, but as his gracious and adorable God and Father. This accords with the statement of St. Paul that Christ Jesus is "a Propitiation through faith by his blood." "The true Christian idea of propitiation," says Bushnell, "is not that God is placated or satisfied by the expiatory pains offered him. It supposes, first, a subjective atoning, or reconciliation in us; and then, as a further result, that God is objectively propitiated, or set in a new relation of welcome and peace. Before he could not embrace us, even in his love. His love was the love of compassion; now it is the love of complacency and permitted friendship." And this propitiation is for all men. "The Propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." If any are not saved, it is neither because of any deficiency in the Divine purposes or provisions, nor because the propitiation of Christ is limited to certain persons or to a certain number only. The salvation of Jesus Christ is adequate to all men, and is offered freely to all men. If any are not saved, it is because they refuse the redemptive mercy of God in Christ Jesus. - W.J.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not
The connection between chapters 1 and 2 seems to be this: I have taught you something of the nature and universality of sin, and of the deceivers who say they have no sin, but you are not to understand me as teaching that sin is an element of our being, or attached to us by any absolute necessity, or infused into us by the will or authority of the Deity, or of such might that resistance is vain; on the contrary, the main object of my epistle is, "That ye sin not." Ye are not to yield to sin, but to resist it to the uttermost.


1. The word τεκνία, "little children," is a diminutive from τέκνον, and we, having no principle in our language for forming diminutives, or perhaps having lost it, must translate by the two words "little children." The Latins say "Filioli," the Germans "Kindlein," the Italians "Filioletti." The French are as poor as ourselves in this respect, and must say "Mes petits enfans." Such forms of expression in all languages denote endearment and affection. All the most valuable articles in nature are small — the iron, the lead, the silver, the gold, the diamonds of the mine, are all diminutives compared with the rocks, the mountains, and the strata of the globe. It is so in grace also, for the Church of the Son of God, though forming an innumerable company in the heavenly Jerusalem, yet, when compared with the millions of mankind who live and die in their sins, are "a little flock" (Luke 12:32), but in them and with them are found all the riches of Jehovah's mercy, all the wondrous manifestations of His love, all the glories of the eternal kingdom.(1) The name, therefore, refers to the believer as an object of special and tender care. Ye are the children of my warmest love over whom I rejoice continually. Ye are separated from the world, but ye are of more value in the sight of God than the great world with its vanities, which are all destined to perish.(2) The purpose of my writing you is, that ye sin not. Ye are not the slaves of sin any more, but the freemen of the Lord Jesus.(3) I take "these things" to refer generally to the substance of the whole Epistle, but mere especially to the first chapter; and hence we may learn what, in the mind of the apostle, are the best preventatives against sin. The preventatives are not in us, but in God.

2. Jesus, the "Advocate," is now brought before the mind of the children of God as the one all-sufficient fountain of forgiveness for the transgressions of mankind.


1. Then it is a fact that the eternal mercy has reached, us in the person of our adorable Redeemer, and that in the shedding of His blood we have the means and the seal of peace with God.

2. But it is asserted that He is the propitiation for "our" sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.(1) In the fullest, freest, and most admirable manner He has removed every barrier between us and God, and expiated forever all our sins.(2) His love, His Cross, His religion, is not for one age, but for all ages, not for one nation or country, but for the whole world, and the promises of God give us assurance beforehand of its final triumph.


1. There is but one way of knowing with certainty that we have known God, and that is by keeping His commandments. The knowledge which does not lead to holiness is not the knowledge of God.

2. There are two great centres in the moral universe around which the events, characters, histories, and destinies of the species gather, the true one and the false one, Christ and Satan, the author of all truth and the father of lies. The "lie" is the black bond which unites us to the prince of darkness, and "truth" is the golden chain which binds us to our Head and Master in heaven. The truth signifies in the New Testament the Christian religion — the genuine faith and practice of the gospel (John 1:14, 17; John 8:32, 40, 45, 46; John 16:13; John 17:17; John 18:37; Romans 1:8).


1. The only way to arrive at perfection is by keeping the Word of God.(1) Love begins in the circle of the heart, and flows forth upon its objects in proportion to its fervour and strength. We cannot, therefore, even pretend to love God if He is not frequently the object of our thoughts, if He does not occupy a conspicuous place in our hearts.(2) Love is a strong passion. Its existence is easily traced by the joy which it gives, by the difficulties it surmounts, by the trials which it endures, and by the deeds which it accomplishes. Love should increase and strengthen by every fresh discovery of the beauty and excellence of its object.(3) How can we best increase this love to God? The answer is suggested in our text, namely, by "keeping the Word of God." The Bible is the directory of the saints, and holiness consists in obedience to its commands.


(W. Graham.)

I. LET THAT BE YOUR AIM, TO "SIN NOT." Let it be your fixed purpose, not merely that you are to sin as little as you can, but that you are not to sin at all.

II. But not only would I have you to make this your aim, I WOULD HAVE YOUR AIM ACCOMPLISHED AND REALISED; and therefore "I write these things unto you, that ye sin not." We are to proceed upon the anticipation not of failure but of success in all holy walking and in every holy duty. Believe these things, realise them, act them out. For they are such things as, if thus apprehended, change the character of the whole struggle. They transfer it to a new and higher platform. We are brought into a position in relation to God in which holiness is no longer a desperate, negative strife, but a blessed, positive achievement. Evil is overcome with good.

III. WHY, THEN, IS PROVISION MADE FOR OUR SINNING STILL AFTER ALL? We have purposed in good faith that we will not offend. We rejoice to think that we may now form that purpose with good heart; not desperately, as if we were upon a forlorn hope, but rather as grasping the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. For He cheers us on. He knows how at every step, in spite of all the encouragement given us beforehand, that we may hang back, fearing with too good ground that even if, in the form we used to dread, our sin shall seem to give way, it may in some new manifestation lie in wait to trouble us. And therefore He assures us that He is always beside us, "our advocate with the Father." We need not there fore be afraid to walk with the Father in the light.

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

I. THE SPIRIT OF THE APOSTLE'S ADDRESS. "My little children." Such words are felt to be peculiarly appropriate in him. They are suited to his character. He was gentle and loving. They are suited also to his age. He lived to be the oldest of all his companions in the apostolic ministry. It is a noble triumph of godliness when age is redolent with piety and retains the earnestness and diligence of youth. We may be also assured his words were suited to the success of his ministry. Of those whom he addressed it might be presumed there were many whom he might regard as "his children" in the highest and best sense. He was their spiritual father. In this there is an example to all who would be the teachers of others, whether pastors or parents, or any who would be their "helpers in Christ Jesus." Their spirit should be affectionate, "speaking the truth in love," ever "in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves." And their object should be the conversion of souls.

II. THE DESIGN OF HIS WRITINGS. "These things write I unto you that ye sin not." His reference is manifestly to what he had written in the preceding chapter. And it is only necessary to look back on what he had written and see how fitted it was to discourage sin. Either the doctrine of the apostle or the practice of sin must be abandoned. They are wholly incompatible with one another. In this view he is not singular. Everywhere in the Divine Word the gospel of Christ is represented to be "a doctrine which is according to godliness."

III. THE WORDS OF WARNING. "If any man sin," implying that, notwithstanding all he had said, "any man" might sin. The man in the apostle's view is the believing man. He may sin. Alas! no proof is necessary. One source is the remaining sinfulness of his nature. There is no doubt, also, that this tendency to sin in the believer is mightily strengthened by the temptation of the wicked one. His enmity is specially directed against the godly. Nor must we omit to notice the extreme danger to which the believer is exposed from the world. Its pleasures and honours and riches are dangerous in the extreme. In harmony with these views the Divine life is described in the Scriptures as a constant warfare. It need scarcely be said how necessary it is to be vigilant in maintaining it. Great interests are at stake. The law is that as sin enters peace departs. The credit of religion, too, is bound up in the fidelity of those who profess it. Above all, the honour of Christ is concerned. He is calumniated as the "minister of sin" when those who bear His name dishonour Him.

IV. THE DUTY AND REFUGE OF THOSE WHO ARE OVERCOME BY TEMPTATION AND BETRAYED INTO SIN. "If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Such is the believer's privilege, but let us not overlook the duty involved in it. We must bring our cause to our great Advocate and commit it to His hands.

V. THE ENCOURAGEMENT HELD OUT TO US TO MAKE OUR SUIT TO OUR GREAT ADVOCATE. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

(James Morgan, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS COMMAND — "That ye sin not"? The general meaning of the word "sin" is intelligible to all. It is sin to violate the commands of God; but many things beside the direct breach in act of a positive injunction are sin against God. It is sin, according to the language of St. James, if any man "knoweth to do good and doeth it not." Not merely are sinful words condemned, but we are admonished that God regards the state of the heart. The Word of God enlarges the sense of this term beyond what is convenient to the self righteousness of men to allow, and tells us that even ignorance of that which is right may be criminal before Him. The precept which bids us not to sin enjoins upon us that we make ourselves acquainted with what is sin and what is duty.

II. Let us weigh well some of those many CONSIDERATIONS WHICH SHOULD INDUCE US DILIGENTLY TO SEEK TO ACCOMPLISH IT PERFECTLY. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not."

1. We should not sin because God is a holy God and cannot endure sin. It is contrary to His nature, to His perfections, to His supremacy. It would involve the universe in ruin if permitted.

2. We should not sin, because that Saviour by whom we hope to reach eternal happiness hates sin. It dishonours Him amongst men.

3. Let us take care not to sin, because by that we grieve and we quench the Holy Spirit.

4. Again, we should not sin because sin indulged involves the soul in everlasting ruin.

5. That even if sin did not impair the hopes that a Christian entertains, it is certain to diminish the glorious reward which remains for those who serve Christ.

6. Moreover, in sinning we separate ourselves from communion with Him altogether while the sin lasts.

7. Let us recollect that when we sin against God we sin against our fellow creatures too, because it is almost certain that our own sins involve others in our guilt and lead them to sin too.

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

It is not asserted that you must be sinless before you are safe, but only that you must not presume that you are safe before the grace of God makes you long to be sinless. A soldier's uniform is to be worn only by a soldier, a student's gown only by a student, a saint's robe only by a saint. As we call him a soldier who has only just enlisted, as we call him a student who has only just entered college, we call him a saint who has only just begun to believe and has yet everything to learn and every thing to feel that belongs to the sanctified life. Still a saint he must be, one whose vocation it is to be holy, and who strives daily to obey the Divine voice within him that is ever saying "Sin not, sin not, sin not," or he can have no interest in the Saviour's righteousness.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

All the revelations of God and all His works in every department of His agency cry out to the justified man in one language and say to him, "Sin not." Call God what you will, name all His names, styles, and titles, spell all the characters of His glory, and you find in every one of them the charge, "Sin not." Is He light? then sin not, for sin is darkness. Is He life? then sin not, for sin will darken your souls and kill them. Is He love? then sin not, for sin against Him is not simple disobedience, it hath the abominable stain of ingratitude on it. Is He holy? then sin not, for this is most repugnant to His holiness, and if thou wouldst have Him look upon thee with favour thou must not look upon sin with favour or entertain it with delight. Is He great and powerful? then sin not, for that were madness. Is He good and gracious? then sin not, for that were abominable wickedness. Is He just? then sin not, for He will not acquit the wicked, nor hold them guiltless who do acquit themselves and yet hold by their gins. Is He merciful? Oh, then sin not, for wilt thou sin against the mercy that saveth thee? Look upon all His particular acts of care and favour towards thee; consider His judgments upon the world, upon the nation, and upon thine own person; put to thine ear and hear — this is the joint harmonious melody, this is the proclamation of all, that we sin not.

(Hugh Binning.)

A soul washed in the blood of Christ has very delicate perceptions.


Once I was travelling in Scotland, and I saw two people at a railway station hunting on a large timetable of the train service for a local train. Written on the timetable in great big letters were the words, "SUNDAY TRAINS ONLY." These people wanted the weekday train, and ignored altogether the great big, bold letters which declared all the trains on the list to be special trains for Sunday. They were hunting in some out-of-the-way corner for a suitable train, utterly ignoring the words, "Sunday trains only." Whose fault would it be if they came to a wrong conclusion? I thought to myself that this was just the mistake so many Christians make. God has written right across the Bible in great big words that no one should mistake, "Sin not," and people look in some corner to see if they cannot find a text that can be made to say that we must sin little. The whole Bible must be read in the light of the words, "These things have I written unto you that ye sin not." The Bible is a holy book, and woe be to the man that would make it the minister of sin!

(Dudley Kidd.)

A friend of mine was staying with a leader of a certain section of Christ's Church who believed deeply in the necessity of daily "Christian sin." On Sunday my friend spoke about the splendid deliverance at our disposal in Christ's full salvation. On returning home to dinner my friend saw that he had offended his host by his bold words. "I am sorry you spoke such unsound words this morning, as you will lead the young people especially into error, and discourage the little ones that believe in Christ," said the host. When my friend was alone, the daughter of the host, about sixteen years of age, came and said, "Oh, I do wish I had only heard such words long ago. You spoke so differently from father; he tells us we must go on sinning all our life, and that thought always discourages me, so that I have never given my heart to Christ, but I want to tell you that I did so this morning as you were speaking, for the salvation you told us of was just what I want." Soon dinner was announced, and the morning's service was the general topic. At once the daughter told of her new joy, and explained how that the offer of such a full salvation was the point that won her. Her father's face fell as he explained that, in spite of the unpleasantness, he was bound, as a Christian, to expose the error taught by the guest, but loyalty to the truth compelled him to disregard any feelings of difficulty. The daughter felt very awkward, and said in her girlish way, "Then how much must I sin every day, father? For I want to sin as little as possible." The question went like an arrow to the father's heart. How could he tell his child to sin even a little every day? He burst into tears as he rushed out of the room, and was not seen till late in the afternoon, when he came in with a beaming face to beg pardon of his child, and to tell from a glad heart the power of Jesus to keep from all sin.

(Dudley Kidd.)

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father
The manner of our restoration, if we fall short of the sinless aim, not less than the sinless aim itself, is fitted to guard against any abuse of John's doctrine of forgiveness. It is through an advocacy altogether incompatible with anything like the toleration of evil.

I. HE IS "JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS." Jesus! He is called Jesus because He saves His people from their sins. Christ! the Anointed! whom the Father anoints through the Spirit; whom I also, through the Spirit, in sympathy with the Father, humbly venture to anoint! His Christ and mine! But the emphatic word here is "righteous." This term may be understood as pointing, not to the legal righteousness which Christ has — or rather which Christ is — but to the righteousness of His character, and of His manner of advocacy with the Father for us. In any court in which I had a cause to maintain I would wish to have a righteous advocate. I do not want one to tell me smooth things, putting a fair face on what will not stand close scrutiny, getting up untenable lines of defence, and keeping me in good humour till ruin comes. Give me an advocate who, much as he may care for me, cares for honesty and honour, for law and justice, still more. Such an advocate is Jesus Christ for us in the high court of heaven; for He is "Jesus Christ the righteous." Such an advocate is He also when, in the capacity, as it were, of chamber counsel, He is with us in our closet, to listen to all that we have to say, to all our confessions and complaints, our enumeration of grievances, our unbosoming ourselves of all our anxieties and all our griefs. He will so ply His office, and travail in His work of advocacy between the Father and us, as to preserve the right understanding which He has Himself brought about and obviate the risk of renewed separation. He will make it all subservient to our more thorough cleansing from sin and our closer walk with God; our being "holy as He is holy."

II. "HE IS THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS." He is so now. He is present with us now as our advocate with the Father; and it is as being the propitiation for our sins that He is present with us. He draws near; the Spirit so taking of what is His and showing it to me as to bring Him near. Can I touch these hands which I have been nailing again to the accursed tree, or feel them touching me again to bless me, without my whole frame thrilling as the voice runs through my inmost soul — "Sin no more"; "Thou art dead to sin"?

III. There is a supplement added which still further explains the sort of advocacy which Jesus Christ the righteous carries on. He is "THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." This is added to preclude the possibility of a believer thinking that, if he lapses, it is under some method of recovery different from that which is available for all mankind. Where, then, ye children of the light and of the day — ye followers of the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ — where is your peculiar privilege of sinning lightly and being easily restored? What is there in that sin of yours that should make it lie less heavily on your conscience, and afflict your souls less grievously, than the sins which, when you were of the world, you committed?

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

I. OUR FAILURE. We are prone every moment to transgression. Oh, if we could take a survey of all the consequences to which every transgression on our part gives birth in an unseen world we should feel a force in these words, "if any man sin," that would prepare our hearts to contemplate with admiring gratitude the provision which even in such a case is made for ourselves.

II. OUR SECURITY. "We have an Advocate with the Father." The law of God does not condemn any man before it hears him, and as the accused cannot appear in the courts of heaven to answer for themselves, they are heard there in the person of their Advocate. There are three qualifications necessary to constitute a powerful and successful advocate.

1. The first is zeal. If zeal in one who pleads a cause be a just requisite, then where would you find an advocate so admirably qualified for his office, in this respect, as the blessed Saviour? Think of His love for your soul. He redeemed us to God by His blood. Will He not plead for that which He has purchased with His own blood? Think of the relation in which He stands to you. It is your friend, your brother, who is your advocate with the Father. Can He be otherwise than zealously affected in your favour? Be not faithless, but believing.

2. There is another qualification for the work of an advocate not less needful than zeal — I mean wisdom. As the ability of a general consists much in his skill in choosing his position and in disposing of his troops, so an advocate has need of wisdom in selecting the ground on which he may act with advantage for his client. What consummate wisdom did Moses display in pleading the cause of Israel when they had made them a molten image in Horeb, and worshipped the golden calf! But in the text we have one greater than Moses, even Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

3. In order to preclude all possibility of failure, there is one further qualification requisite in an advocate, and that is merit. The intercession of one who has a claim upon the person with whom he pleads partakes of the nature of a demand, it has a force which is irresistible. Our cause is in the hands of Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins. What further can we desire? Now, in conclusion, this text affords no ground for —

1. Presumption.

2. Despair.

(J. Williams, M. A.)

I. THE FACT AND PRESENCE OF SIN. Consider the true nature of the exhortation, "that ye sin not." Our fellowship with God does not influence His holy nature as the fellowship of men often influences us. The latter makes us blind to their faults. But our fellowship with God cannot lessen in any degree the grief for sin, or anger against it, which He felt at first when the rebel angels were driven from His presence. Now, the sins which believers commit against God may be divided into these two great classes: —

1. Sins of ignorance and weakness.

2. Sins of presumption committed in face of the teaching of God's Word and the promptings of His Holy Spirit. The teaching of Scripture with regard to this subject is fitted to strike us with fear and trembling (Numbers 15:30, 31; Hebrews 10:26). And further, is there not much cause for serious alarm, seeing that acts of wilful sin soon develop the habit of wilful sinning, which is nothing short of apostasy from the faith as it is in Christ?

II. THE PROVISION FOR SIN: AN ADVOCATE. It is quite true that God is ready to forgive; still, He is ready to forgive, not as an indulgent father nor as lax judge, but only through the irresistible might and right of Christ's advocacy.

III. THE BELIEVER'S ADVOCATE JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS. It is a common remark about law courts that "he who appears as his own advocate has a fool for his client." If this be true in an earthly court of justice, it is no less true in the court of heaven.

1. For he who is arraigned at God's bar is altogether unfit to plead his own case. Let us here consider, first, the unfitness of the unbeliever for this work.

(1)He is ignorant of God's law.

(2)He is ignorant of his own sin.

(3)He is ignorant of the ruin which sin works.

(4)He is ignorant of the holiness and justice of God.It is manifest that the unbeliever is altogether unfit to be his own advocate, and yet this is the office which those who reject Christ try to fill for themselves.

2. But the question may now perhaps be asked, Does the believer really require an advocate? He is not entirely ignorant of God's law and his own sin. But, what is more to the point, his knowledge of these, however imperfect it may be, is yet sufficient to show him the utter hopelessness of his case.

3. Christ must not be thought of as loving us more than the Father loves us, as more longsuffering, more easy-to-be-entreated, showing us more sympathy, or knowing better the weakness of our nature. Hence when Christ appears before the Judge and Father for a believer who has sinned, it is not with any weak form of intercession, but as our advocate at God's bar of judgment. He admits the sin; He approves of the law; He acknowledges the justice of the penalty; and yet, strange to say, He obtains for the accused a discharge from the bar. And why? Because He is the propitiation for our sin.

(James Fenton, M. A.)

I. WHAT IS THE IDEA OF AN ADVOCATE WHEN THE TERM IS USED TO EXPRESS A GOVERNMENTAL OFFICE OR RELATION? An advocate is one who pleads the cause of another; who represents another, and acts in his name; one who uses his influence in behalf of another by his request.


1. To secure justice, in case any question involving justice is to be tried.

2. To defend the accused.

3. To secure a pardon when a criminal has been justly condemned and is under sentence.



1. His being employed at a throne of grace and not at the bar of justice, to plead for sinners, as such, and not for those who are merely charged with sin but the charge not established.

2. His being appointed by God as the Advocate of sinners implies a merciful disposition in God.

3. That the exercise of mercy on certain conditions is possible.

4. That there is hope for the condemned.

5. That there is a governmental necessity for the interposition of an advocate; that the sinner's relations are such, and his character such, that he cannot be admitted to plead his own cause in his own name.


1. He must be the uncompromising friend of the government.

2. He must be the uncompromising friend of the dishonoured law.

3. He must be righteous; that is, he must be clear of any complicity in the crime of the sinner.

4. He must be the compassionate friend of the sinner — not of his sins, but of the sinner himself.

5. He must be able sufficiently to honour the law, which sinners by their transgression have dishonoured.

6. He must be willing to volunteer a gratuitous service.

7. He must have a good plea. He must be able to present such considerations as shall really meet the necessities of the case, and render it safe, honourable, glorious in God to forgive.


1. It should be remembered that the appeal is not to justice. Since the fall of man God has suspended the execution of strict justice upon our race.

2. Christ's plea for sinners cannot be that they are not guilty.

3. Christ as our Advocate cannot, and need not, plead a justification.

4. He may not plead what will reflect, in any wise, upon the law.

5. He may not plead anything that shall reflect upon the administration of the Lawgiver. In that ease, instead of insisting that the sinner should repent, virtually the Lawgiver would be called upon Himself to repent.

6. He may not plead any excuse whatever for the sinner in mitigation of his guilt, or in extenuation of his conduct.

7. He cannot plead as our Advocate that He has paid our debt, in such a sense that He can demand our discharge on the ground of justice.

8. But Christ may plead His sin-offering to sanction the law, as fulfilling a condition upon which we may be forgiven.

9. But the plea is directed to the merciful disposition of God. He may point to the promise made to him in Isaiah 52:13 to the end, and Isaiah 53:1, 2.

10. He may plead also that He becomes our surety, that He under takes for us, that He is our wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; and point to His official relations, His infinite fulness, willingness, and ability to restore us to obedience and to fit us for the service, the employments, and enjoyments of heaven.

11. He may urge as a reason for our pardon the great pleasure it will afford to God to set aside the execution of the law. "Mercy rejoiceth against judgment." Judgment is His strange work; but He delighteth in mercy.

12. He may urge the glory that will redound to the Son of God, for the part that He has taken in this work.

13. He may plead the gratitude of the redeemed and the profound thanks and praise of all good beings.Conclusion:

1. You see what it is to become a Christian. It is to employ Christ as your Advocate, by committing your cause entirely to Him.

2. He is an Advocate that loses no causes.

3. The safety of believers. Christ is always at His post.

4. The position of unbelievers. You have no advocate. God has appointed an Advocate; but you reject Him.

5. I ask, Have you retained Him? Have you, by your own consent, made Him your Advocate?

6. Do any of you say that you are unable to employ Him? But remember, the fee which He requires of you is your heart. All may employ Him, for all have hearts.

7. He tenders His services gratuitously to all, requiring nothing of them but confidence, gratitude, love, obedience.

8. Can any of you do without Him?

9. Have any of you made His advocacy sure by committing all to Him? If you have, He has attended to your cause, because He has secured your pardon; and the evidence you have in your peace of mind.

(C. G. Finney.)


II. IT IS AMPLE. God does nothing by halves. The salvation promised goes down to the very roots of our nature. Nothing is kept back.

III. IT IS TO BE HAD FOR THE ASKING. Earthly potentates require great influence to procure an audience with them, and then there is no certainty that the boon sought will be granted.

IV. THIS ADVOCACY CAN BE HAD AT ONCE. Delay is not only dangerous, but unnecessary.

V. IT IS SURE IN ITS EFFECT. None need doubt its efficacy for a single moment.

(J. O. Peck, D. D.)

The Apostle John presents us with a very clear and emphatic testimony to the doctrine of full and free forgiveness of sin.

I. THE SAINT IS STILL A SINNER. Our apostle says — "If any man sin." The "if" may be written in as small letters as you will, for the supposition is a matter of certainty. Far be it from us to deny that Divine grace has wrought a wondrous change, it were no grace at all if it had not. It will be well to note this change.

1. The Christian no longer loves sin; it is the object of his sternest horror. The head and the hands of Dagon are broken, although the stump remains.

2. The Christian never sins with that enormity of boasting Of which the unregenerate are guilty. His heart is broken within him when he has sinned.

3. Nor does he sin with the fulness of deliberation that belongs to other men. He who can carefully arrange and plot a transgression is still a true child of the old serpent.

4. And again, he never chews the cud of his sin; for after he has sinned, however sweet it may have been in his mouth, it becomes bitterness in his bowels.

5. The Christian, unlike other men, never finds enjoyment in his sin; he is out of his element in it. Conscience pricks him; he cannot, even if he would, sin like others.

6. You will notice, too, how different the Christian is as to the habit of sin. The ungodly man is frequent in overt deeds of rebellion, but the Christian, at least in open acts of crime and folly, rather falleth into than abideth in them.There are all these degrees of difference between the Christian and the ungodly man, and far more, for the believer is a new creature, but for all that we must come back to that with which we started — that the Christian is a sinner still.

1. He is so from the imperfection of his nature.

2. As the Christian thus sins in his devout performances, so he constantly errs in the everyday tenour of his life. Sins of omission, to wit, how many of these may be compressed into a single hour!

3. Moreover, many Christian people sin from certain peculiar infirmities. Some sin through shortness of temper. There are others who have a high and proud spirit, and if they fancy they are a little snubbed or put into the background at once they feel inclined to resent it. How many we know who have to contend with constant unbelief brought on through depression of spirits! Their nerves, perhaps, have experienced a great shock at some period in life, and constitutionally they look always at the black side of affairs. And then we all sin from the assaults of evil. The temptations of the world, when we are thrust into ungodly company, and the trials of business and even of the household, all these in unguarded moments may take the Christian off his feet.

II. OUR SINS DO NOT DEPRIVE US OF OUR INTEREST IN CHRIST. "If any man sin we have an advocate." Yes, we have Him though we do sin; we have Him still. He chose us when we were sinners; He loved us when we were dead in trespasses and sins; and He loves us still.


1. "Jesus." Ah! then He is an advocate such as I want, for He loves me and takes an interest in me.

2. "Jesus Christ," the anointed. This shows His authority to plead.

3. "Jesus Christ the righteous." This is not only His character, but it is His plea. It is His character, and if my advocate be righteous then I am sure He would not take up a bad cause. What can there be asked more for the sinner than this? Jesus Christ the righteous stands up to plead for me, and pleads His righteousness; and mark, He does this not if I do not sin, but if I do sin. There is the beauty of my text.

IV. THIS TRUTH, SO EVANGELICAL AND SO DIVINE, SHOULD BE PRACTICALLY REMEMBERED. It should be practically remembered at all times. Every day I find it most healthy to my own soul to try and walk as a saint, but in order to do so I must continually come to Christ as a sinner. Make this essentially the rule of your life on particular occasions. Here let me say a word that may at once comfort and enlighten some who are in darkness. Perhaps you will tell me that your sin has had some gross aggravation about it. If you are a Christian it has, for a Christian always sins worse than other men; if the sin be not in itself so bad as other men's, it is worse in you. For a king's favourite to play the traitor is villainy indeed. Fly with a humble, contrite heart, and throw thyself at the feet of that Advocate, and by His blood He will plead for thee, and thou shalt prevail.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. It is not a poor sinner like ourselves, who has need first to intercede for the forgiveness of his own sins, and then for the people.

2. He is One who perfectly understands our condition and exposures.

3. He is not only in certain respects a member of the human family, and acquainted with their sufferings, but He is also a partaker of the essence and glory of the Godhead.

4. He hath peculiar advantages for the accomplishment of the great object for which He intercedes.




(J. Foot, D. D.)

I. THE HIGH PRIVILEGE WHICH CHRISTIANS ENJOY — they "have an advocate with the Father." All the spiritual concerns of believers are lodged in Christ's hands. Whatever respects their present or future happiness, their growth in grace, their preservation from the evil in the world, and their introduction at last into the presence of God with exceeding joy, are matters which belong to Him. He is their advocate, and pleads their cause with His Heavenly Father. He obtains for them all needful blessings to conform them more to the Divine image — to abide with them as a comforter — to be the earnest of their future inheritance — to lead and guide them through all the trials of life — and finally to seal them to the day of redemption.

II. THE CHARACTER GIVEN TO THIS ADVOCATE — "Jesus Christ the righteous."

1. He is righteous before God — perfectly approved by Him.

2. He is righteous in the view of Christians themselves. In every part of His character, indeed, He is the object of their approbation.

3. He is righteous in all His requests.


1. It secures them against the dread of condemnation, on account of daily transgressions.

2. It promotes their deliverance from remaining corruption.

3. It secures the acceptance of their religious duties. The Christian's person is at first accepted in the Beloved, and his religious duties are accepted in the same way.Conclusion:

1. How well qualified Christ is to be a Saviour!

2. The intercession of Christ is a full proof of the constancy of His love.

3. Be exhorted to a thankful improvement of your privileges.

(W. F. Ireland, D. D.)

I. Christ is the UNIVERSAL pleader. The high priest under the Jewish dispensation exercised his intercession for a nation, Christ for all.

II. Christ is a FAITHFUL pleader. Some will take bribes.

III. Christ is a SUCCESSFUL pleader.

IV. Christ is a SYMPATHETIC pleader.

V. Christ is a PERPETUAL pleader. Many priests passed away, Christ "abideth."

VI. Christ is a SURE GROUND for pleading.

(G. Calvert.)

I. Let us begin with THE PROPITIATION FOR OUR SINS; for although Christ's advocacy is first mentioned in the text, yet His propitiation is the foundation upon which His advocacy is built, and without the latter the former would be utterly unavailing.

1. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ was vicarious; that is, it was offered for the sins of others.

2. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ was appointed by God.

3. The propitiatory sacrifice of Christ was necessary. The known character of God clearly evinces the truth of this assertion. God is a being possessed of infinite knowledge and wisdom. By His unlimited knowledge He is acquainted with every possible scheme by which any end may be accomplished; and by His perfect wisdom He always chooses that particular plan which, upon the most extensive view of things, is best for carrying His designs into effect. We are sure that God loved His Son too dearly to give Him up to the most unexampled sufferings, if these had not been necessary for the expiation of our sins.

4. The sacrifice of Christ has fully answered the end for which it was appointed. It were absurd to suppose that a plan originating from the most perfect wisdom should fail of accomplishing the purpose intended. Besides, let us reflect for a moment upon the nature of that sacrifice which was offered for our sins, and we must be convinced that it has made complete satisfaction. Our text informs us that He is the propitiation for our sins. He!

II. Let us now consider CHRIST'S ADVOCACY WITH THE FATHER. The particular manner in which Christ pleads our cause at the court of heaven is a point upon which mortals cannot speak with certainty. Whether He employs words in His intercession in the same manner that He did upon earth is a question which we are not qualified to decide. If He does, it must be only in a general manner, because it is impossible that His humanity, which is finite in its nature, can employ language capable of representing the boundlessly diversified circumstances of His people. It must also be evident that Christ's advocacy, in whatever it consists, is not intended to produce any alteration in the Divine mind towards His people.

1. Christ is completely qualified for being our Advocate.

2. Christ's advocacy is founded upon His propitiation. His advocacy is not, properly speaking, a supplication; it is a claim founded upon right.

3. Christ's advocacy with the Father is always prevalent.

(D. Inglis.)

Essex Remembrancer.

1. An offender. "All have sinned." A man cannot deny this without contradicting God's word.

2. An accuser. Alas, we have many accusers. Our own consciences accuse us. The devil accuses us. The law of God accuses us.

3. A judge. God the Father is the Judge. It is He whom we have offended.

4. A defence.


1. His person. "Jesus Christ." Jesus, a Divine Saviour. Christ, the Messiah, anointed of God to the office of mediator. We are not trusting our eternal interests in the care of one of whom we know nothing, or one who bears no endearing relation to us; but One whose personal excellences we are well acquainted with.

2. His qualifications. "Jesus Christ the righteous." He is righteous in the most extensive and unlimited sense. His human nature was without spot. His Divine nature threw unexampled merit into every action.

3. His plea. He admits the claims of God's law and the justice of its denunciations, but pleads that He has borne the curse for us, and that therefore pardon and justification may be safely extended to us.

4. His petitions. What does He plead for? For everything that a sinner needs for His present and eternal welfare.Conclusions:

1. Let every man consider the importance of committing His eternal interests to the advocacy of Christ. This is to be done by faith in Christ, and prayer to God in reliance on Christ.

2. Let no one doubt whether Christ will undertake His cause.

3. Would you be sure you have Christ for your advocate? Prove it by obedience to Him.

(Essex Remembrancer.)

I. THE NOTION OF CHRIST'S ADVOCACY; or explain His character as an Advocate. It conflicts in the three following particulars.

1. Christ's exhibiting or presenting Himself above in heaven, before His Father, in our name and behalf.

2. This is also performed by a signification of His mind and will on our behalf; though I take it to consist chiefly in actions, yet not wholly, as some do. There is, moreover, I apprehend, as belonging to it, a making known of requests.

3. We may reckon, as comprised within the advocacy of Christ, His presenting and recommending our regular prayers and requests to the Father, so as to procure acceptance and success to these. They pass, as it were, through His hands, and He consecrates them all.


1. He is a common Advocate for the whole household of faith.

2. He is an Advocate as fully qualified as we could wish. For —(1) He is One who does not act without a proper commission.(2) He must be a very able Advocate. Men may elect or appoint to offices those that are insufficient and no ways equal to them.(3) He is an acceptable Advocate, one highly esteemed and well-beloved of Him with whom His business thus considered lies.(4) He is a holy, sinless Advocate. This is the most proper signification of the word we translate "righteous."(5) He is a faithful Advocate. Disappointment shall never shame any of the hopes which are built upon Him.(6) He is a kind, gracious, affectionate Advocate. The term righteous may likewise lead our thoughts to these properties as belonging to Him. He bears a true affection and goodwill to all His clients.(7) He is a constant, perpetual Advocate. This is thought to be clearly held forth in the apostle's saying, We "have" Him with the Father. He speaks in the present tense, to signify the duration, as well as certainty hereof. He resides always in the presence of the Father. He is ready to put in a plea upon every fresh matter of charge that our adversary can bring against us.(8) He is a prevalent Advocate. There is no danger of His miscarrying in any cause which He solicits. If we consider Him in the greatness of His person, or in the near relation he has to the Father, it will help to convince us that He cannot solicit in vain. Consider Him as a Son performing obedience at the call of the Father, and for the manifestation of His glory; and as this cannot but increase paternal affections towards Him, so it must facilitate His speeding in His addresses, and render the Father more inclinable to fulfil all His petitions. Further, the consideration of His being righteous or holy strengthens the argument for the successfulness of His advocacy.Again, considering the objects of His intercession, those for whom He lives as an Advocate, we shall find it helps to prove that He cannot but succeed. They are those whom the Father is well affected to and loves; not enemies nor strangers, nor servants and friends only, hut children. I might further suggest, as what will make the proof yet more strong, of His being successful, that the matters of His intercession are all perfectly agreeable to the Father's will.

1. Let those be convinced of their unhappy fate and circumstances who remain uninterested in the advocacy of Christ, and are excluded the benefit hereof.

2. Have we who are true believers and Christians indeed an Advocate in heaven, even Jesus Christ? Let us keep up an affectionate esteem of Him, and be more duly thankful for Him thus considered.

3. How careful ought persons to be of intrenching upon and likewise abusing the office of this glorious Advocate!

4. Let us have daily frequent recourse to Christ our Advocate, learn to live more by faith upon Him thus considered, especially in case of many remarkable miscarriages. Faith ought then to be exercised in Him afresh.

5. Let the advocacy of Christ be improved for our consolation and joy.

6. Let us be studying through our whole lives suitable returns to our blessed Lord for what He does for us as our Advocate. Love is evidently one of these returns. Oh that we might learn to carry Christ's name upon our hearts, as He does ours upon His heart! Again, the consideration of His advocacy should teach us to persist in a course of zealous, faithful service to Him. Does He live for us, and shall we not be hereby constrained to live for Him?

7. The consideration of Christ being our Advocate with the Father is proper to elevate our minds and hearts from inferior things, and make us aspire heavenwards.

(J. Gibbs.)

The word "advocate" is applied elsewhere to the Spirit of God. The word does not simply represent one who pleads in a court of justice, but a friendly pleader; also a patron and a sponsor. The idea here seems to be not so much that of an intercessor as that of a representative, including an intercessor, but compassing much more than an intercessor. The idea is brought out by the prophet Isaiah, when he says, speaking of a sort of middleman, a sort of mediator, "He is near that justifieth me." Job brings out the idea when he says, "if there be a messenger with them" — a representative, an interpreter — "one among a thousand." The same thought runs all through the 72nd Psalm, where the king's son is represented as defending and as pleading the cause of the poor and the needy. Now the righteousness of an advocate is introduced in contrast with the sinfulness of those whom He represents. The Advocate represents sinners, but He is not a sinner. He is the sponsor of sinners, but He is not a sinner. He is an ambassador for a race of sinners, but He is not a sinner.

I. THE GRACIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN DISPENSATION DO NOT ENCOURAGE, BUT DISCOURAGE SINNING. The simple fact that God seeks to save us from sin shows us that in His sight sinning is a terrible evil. The mediation which God provides reveals the extreme peril to which sin exposes the transgressor. What must that peril be when God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up to be a Saviour? We often sin through ignorance. We sin through carelessness — the Christian dispensation makes us serious concerning sin. We sin through moral deadness — the Christian dispensation is a ministration by which the living God seeks to restore life to us. We sin sometimes through despair — the Christian dispensation fills us with hope. We sin often through feverishness and through restlessness of spirit — the Christian dispensation imparts peace, restores quiet to our disturbed nature. We sin through weakness — the Christian dispensation imparts power. We sin by force of evil motives — the Christian dispensation changes our motives; so that if any man be in Christ he is a new creature.

II. THE SINS OF THE CHRISTIANS SHALL NOT LEAD THEM INTO DESPONDENCY AND DESPAIR. "These things write I unto you," not that ye sin, but "that ye sin not." If any man sin, there is cause for sorrow, and cause for fear, but none for despair; none even for despondency. For, mark, we are not left to plead our own cause. Nor are we left to seek an Advocate or a Representative. A Representative is provided for us, and revealed to us; and the Advocate that we have is God's Christ — Jesus — devoted to salvation — and Himself without sin. "Jesus Christ the righteous." The advocacy of such a sponsor must prevail. Where, therefore, is there room for despair, or even for despondency?

(S. Martin.)

How divine is the gospel! "Sin not." "If any man sin." It gives us comfort against the demerit of sin without encouraging the acts of sin. No religion is so pure for the honour of God nor any so cordial for the refreshment of the creature.

I. CHRIST IS AS MUCH AN ADVOCATE AS HE IS A SACRIFICE, as God is as much a governor as He was a creator. As we say of Providence, it is a continued creation; so of intercession, it is a continued oblation.

1. This office of advocacy belongs to Him as a priest, and it is apart of His priestly office. As He was a priest upon the Cross to make an expiation for us, so He is our priest in the court of heaven to plead this atonement, both before the tribunal of justice and the throne of mercy, against the curses of the law, the accusations of Satan, the indictments of sin, and to keep off the punishment which our guilt had merited.

2. This, therefore, was the end of His ascension and sitting down at the right hand of God. His mediation kept the world from ruin after man's fall, and His intercession promotes the world's restoration after His own Passion.

3. This advocacy is founded upon His oblation. His plea depends upon the value and purity of His sacrifice.

4. The nature of this advocacy differs from that intercession or advocacy which is ascribed to the Spirit. Christ is an advocate with God for us, and the Spirit is an advocate with God in us (John 14:17). Christ is our advocate, pleading for us in His own name; the Spirit is an advocate, assisting us to plead for ourselves in Christ's name.


1. Authoritative. He intercedes not without a commission and command (Jeremiah 30:21).

2. Wise and skilful. He has an infinite knowledge as God and a full and sufficient knowledge as man.

3. Righteous and faithful. As He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, so He is exalted to perfect the conquest by His intercession. If He had sin He could not be in heaven, much less a pleader there.

4. Compassionate. His intercession springs from the same tenderness towards us as His oblation, and both are but the displaying of His excessive charity.

5. Ready and diligent. He is passed into the heaven, seated there in a perpetual exercise of this office, to entertain all comers at all times; and can no more be sleepy than He can be cruel, no more cease to be diligent than He can be bereaved of His compassions.

6. Earnest and pressing. He was not more vehement to shed His blood than He is to plead it. No man is more solicitous to increase the honour and grandeur of his family than Christ is to secure the happiness of His people. For to what purpose did He carry up human affections to heaven but to express them in their liveliness and vigour for us and to us?

7. Joyful and cheerful. He hath not a sour kind of earnestness, as is common among men; but an earnestness with a joy, as being the delight of His heart.

8. Acceptable. He is the favourite of the court.

9. Alone. Since Christ trod the wine press alone He solicits our cause alone, intercession being founded upon propitiation; He, therefore, that is the sole propitiator is the sole intercessor. As God never gave any commission to redeem us to any other, so He never gave a commission to any other to appear for us in that court.


1. Christ is not an advocate in heaven in such a supplicating manner as He prayed in the world. This servile way of praying, as they call it, because it was performed by Christ in the form of a servant, is not agreeable to His present glorious estate. It is as unsuitable to His state in heaven as His prayers with strong cries were suitable to His condition on earth. Nor is it a supplication in the gesture of kneeling, for He is an advocate at the right hand of God, where He is always expressed as sitting, and but once as standing (Acts 7:55).

2. Yet it may be a kind of petition, an expressing His desires in a supplicatory manner. Though He be a king upon His throne, yet being settled in that royal authority by His Father, as His delegate, He is in regard of that inferior to the Father, and likewise in the economy of mediator. And also as His human nature is a creature, He may be a petitioner without any debasement to Himself, to that power, by whose authority He is settled in His dignity, constituted in His mediatory office, and was both made and continues a creature.

3. It is such a petition as is in the nature of a claim or demand.

4. This intercessory demand or asking is accompanied with a presenting the memorials of His death.

5. It is a presenting our persons to God, together with His blood, in an affectionate manner (Exodus 28:29; Song of Solomon 8:6; Revelation 3:5).


1. The first evidence is in the text, "We have an advocate"; we have at this present; we in this age, we in all ages, till the dissolution of the world, without any faintness in the degrees of His intercession, without any interruption in time.

2. There can be no cessation of His work till His enemies be conquered and His whole mystical body wrapped up in glory.

3. It is necessary it should be so.(1) Because it is founded upon His death. It is an "eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12), and therefore an eternal intercession.(2) The exercise of this office must be as durable as the office itself. His priesthood is forever, therefore the act belonging to His priesthood is forever.(3) This was both the reason and end of His advancement. The intercession He made for transgressors was one reason why God would "divide Him a portion with the great" (Isaiah 53:12); "because He made intercession for the transgressors." It was also the end of His advancement (Hebrews 10:12).



1. For believers only. He manages no man's cause that is not desirous to put it into His hands.

2. For every believer particularly.

VII. WHAT DOTH CHRIST INTERCEDE FOR? In general His intercession for believers is as large as the intent of His death for them.

(S. Charnock, D. D.)

He is an advocate to the Father, not only to Him at a distance, but with Him.

1. This was typified.

2. It was prophesied of Christ (Psalm 21:2).

3. God never denied Him any request which He put up upon the earth for the Divine glory and His people's good, and Christ Himself acknowledges it. "I know that Thou hearest Me always" (John 11:42).Now this intercession must needs be efficacious, if you consider —

1. His person.

(1)The greatness of it.

(2)His near relation to the Father.

(3)The special love God bears to His person for what He hath done in the earth and doth yet in heaven.

2. It must needs be efficacious in regard of the pleas themselves, the matter of them.

(1)The matter of His plea is holy.

(2)It is nothing but what He hath merited.

(3)Whatsoever He pleads for is agree able to the will of His Father.

3. In regard of the foundation of His intercession, His death.

4. In regard of the persons He intercedes for. They are those that are the special gift of God to Him, as dear to the Father as to Christ (John 17:9).

5. It is evidenced by the fruit of it.(1) Before His sacrifice. The text intimates it; as He was a propitiation for the whole world.(2) After His sacrifice, in the first fruit of it, the mission of the Holy Ghost.

(a)For believers only.

(b)For every believer particularly (Luke 22:31, 32).

6. What doth Christ intercede for?


(2)Daily pardon.


(4)Strength against temptation.

(5)Perseverance in grace.

(6)Acceptation of our services.

(7)Salvation.This is the main end of His intercession (Hebrews 7:25).

1. Use of information.

(1)Here is an argument for the Deity of Christ.

(2)Here is a ground to conclude the efficacy of His death.

(3)see the infinite love of God and Christ.

(4)How little ground is there to dream of such a thing as perfection in this life! If we stand in need of a perpetual intercession of Christ in this life we have not then a perfection in this life: intercession supposeth imperfection.

(5)Hence it follows that the Church is as durable as the world.

(6)If Christ be an advocate, the contempt or abuse of His intercession is very unworthy.

(7)If Christ be our advocate it is a dishonourable thing to yoke saints as mediators of intercession with Him.

(8)If Christ be our advocate, how miserable are those that have no interest in Him!

2. Use of comfort. His design in uttering His prayer on earth, the model of His intercession, was for the joy of His people (John 17:13).

(1)There is comfort in the perpetuity of this intercession.

(2)There is comfort in the prevalency of it.

(3)Hence ariseth comfort to us in our prayers.

(4)Hence ariseth comfort against all the attempts and accusations of Satan and the rebellion of our own corruption.

3. Use of exhortation.(1) Endeavour for an interest in this advocacy.To this purpose —

(1)We must have a sincere faith.

(2)We must have a sincere resolution of obedience.

(3)Have a daily recourse to this Advocate and advocacy.

4. Let our affections be in heaven with our Advocate.(4) Glorify and love this Advocate.

(Bishop Hacket.)

1. Advocates amongst men frequently deny the allegation brought against their clients, but Christ admits the charge brought against humanity.

2. Advocates amongst men, if they admit the charge, frequently seek to justify it. Sometimes they set up the plea of ignorance, or accident, or self-defence. But Christ pleads no palliation.

3. Advocates amongst men undertake their work, not from the love of justice or humanity, but from personal considerations.

4. Advocates amongst men seek to influence the mind of the adjudicating parties. But Christ seeks to influence the accused. The great Judge cannot and need not be influenced. In what respects, then, can Christ be called an advocate?


II. HE IS AN ADVOCATE INASMUCH AS HE IS A GOVERNMENTALLY RECOGNISED FUNCTIONARY. The great Governor of the universe has appointed Christ to the work. He occupies His position by a Divine right.


1. That if the sinner is delivered no wrong shall be done to the universe.

2. He pledges that if the sinner is delivered his life shall henceforth be holy.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

Many a man whose friends have long defended him against an adverse opinion has lost all that defensive sympathy as soon as the facts of his ease became fully known. It has happened before now, even in forensic history, that an advocate has felt forced to relinquish his brief in consequence of some unexpected disclosure that made proceeding with the case a course that would hurt his self-respect or compromise his reputation. Secrets have come to light in the life of a child that have silenced even a mother's advocacy, and made love itself confess that it had no more to say. But you never need fear that for reasons like these Christ will abandon your cause or fail in your defence. Before you confide to Him a single secret His acquaintance with your whole life is intimate and perfect.

(C. Stanford.)

And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only
The propitiation made by our Lord Jesus Christ lies at the foundation of the whole system of Christianity, so that a weakness there involves a weakness everywhere.

I. By propitiation is meant the complete satisfaction of the claims of the law on the sinner by the infliction of the law's penalty on the Lord Jesus Christ as the sinner's substitute; and our first business will be to consider the principle in which the whole originates. This principle is, that the authority of law must be maintained by the lawgiver, and that when the law has been broken the sentence of the law must be carried into effect (2 Samuel 23:3). But if law is maintained it will lead in many cases to a conflict between law and love. There must have been just such a conflict in the mind of Brutus when his sons were convicted of conspiracy against the republic. In that case law said they must die, but love must have said, "Let them live." Law said, "Condemn," and love must have said, "Have mercy." We have a similar illustration of this conflict between law and love in the case of David. When Absalom had murdered his brother Amnon, he fled to Geshur, and there remained for three years in banishment. "The soul of King David longed," or "was consumed," "to go forth unto Absalom." Love, therefore, would have restored him, but law forbade his restoration. David was king, and therefore responsible for the administration of law. He was compelled, therefore, to keep Absalom in banishment at the very time that his own soul was consumed by the tender love he felt towards him. Now, cannot we believe in exactly the same conflict between law and love in the mind of a perfectly holy God? There is in Him a righteousness infinitely more righteous, and a love infinitely more tender, than was ever known in man; and can anyone be surprised either that His law cannot be set aside, or that His love yearns over the sinner even at the very time that He passes His own just sentence on the sin? People speak of the punishment of sin as if it were cruel and vindictive; but it may be a stern necessity imposed on a tender heart by the righteous claims of a violated law. Now, then, we are brought face to face with the great difficulty that has called forth the gospel, viz. this: In what way can the law be vindicated, and yet the sinner who has broken it be saved? There is a very remarkable passage in the words of the woman of Tekoah, when she went to David respecting the restoration of Absalom, in which she said of God, God does not "respect any person: yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him" (2 Samuel 14:14). According to that statement, He shows no partiality; but yet without partiality He has contrived a plan by which the offender may be forgiven. What, then, is this plan? This plan is propitiation. It is none other than that proposed by Judah, when, having undertaken to be surety for Benjamin, he said to Joseph (Genesis 44:33), "Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren." His proposal was that there should be an act of substitution. So, in His boundless grace and mercy, our righteous God gave the Son to be bondsman in our place, and the Son accepted the suretyship and suffered. Thus the law has been vindicated and the sin punished, while at the same time the love is satisfied and the sinner set free. This is what is meant by propitiation (Romans 3:26). I am, of course, perfectly aware that there are those who reject this doctrine of substitution, and others who, while they accept it, see in it difficulties which they find it hard to explain. This is the one Divine plan which is taught throughout the Scriptures. It was prefigured in type as in all the sacrifices of the Levitical typical system; and preeminently in the type, of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21). It was predicted in prophecy, as, for example, by Isaiah (Isaiah 53:6). So it was taught by the apostles (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 4:10). And, above all, by the mysterious conduct of our Lord Himself as His death was drawing near, which, I do not hesitate to affirm, can be explained on no other supposition.


1. The Divine propitiation is complete. The whole and every part is completed forever. In the typical sacrifices there were two parts in each typical propitiation — the death of the substitute, and the offering, or presentation, of the blood before one of the altars, or the mercy seat. The atonement was not completed by the death alone, but it was necessary that the death should be followed up by the presentation of the blood. Now, in the Divine propitiation both parts have been completed. The one sacrifice has been once offered, and the whole is finished. The blood was shed on Calvary, and sprinkled or presented, when "by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:25, 26). The death and the offering were two parts of the one transaction, and the whole of that transaction was complete when He rose from the dead, and was accepted as the beloved Son completely free from the killing guilt of imputed sin.

2. The Divine propitiation is final. If there were the possibility of any repetition, there is no room left for it. "Where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:18). If, therefore, remission is granted according to the covenant of God, if we are enjoying His promise, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more," and if, according to verse 14, "by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified," what place is there for any further propitiatory offering of any kind whatever? Who can perfect that which God has already perfected?

3. And this brings me to my last point — the Divine propitiation is sufficient. By this I mean that it is so complete and perfect in the covenant of God that those who are saved by it are made partakers of a complete reconciliation. There are many persons who appear to be satisfied with what I may call a partial reconciliation. They dare not accept the position of one whose every sin has been blotted out, and to whom there is no barrier in the way of a full, free, unfettered enjoyment of the love of God. They are not unlike Absalom when he returned from Geshur and remained three years at Jerusalem without being permitted to see his father's face. They are not as he was when in Geshur, for they are in the midst of religious life as he was in Jerusalem, but they are not fully restored. The result is that their religion is one of little more than anxiety, and they begin to think that it was almost better with them when they were altogether in the world. But this is not the result of an all-sufficient Divine propitiation. There is nothing in this half-and-half character in our Heavenly Father's provision for us. The veil of separation has been rent from the top to the bottom, and as the curse of all sin has been completely and forever borne, it is the privilege of every soul that is in Christ Jesus to approach the mercy seat of our most holy God with the same peaceful, loving, filial trust that he would have felt if he had never known sin.

(E. Hoare, M. A.)

I. THE NEED OF PROPITIATING. To propitiate is to turn away wrath. We would rather not think of the wrath of God, but "propitiation" has no meaning unless the wrath of God be real. Hardly anything is more to be dreaded than an inadequate sense of sin and its desert. If we ask how God's wrath utters itself, we may venture to reply, In His separation from the sinner. Can anything be worse than that? can "outer darkness" exceed what it is for a soul to be left with its sins cut off from God? But why propitiation? If a parent can lay aside his anger merely on the child's contrition, cannot God? That is not a correct statement of the case. God has said that sin is such an evil that He cannot pass it by without penalty; if e parent has so said of the child's fault, the question is not whether he can pass it by without penalty, but whether he ought to. Divine love would deserve no reverence did it ignore righteousness.


1. This is a propitiation provided and made by God Himself. It was no laying our sin on another, it was the taking it upon Himself.

2. This propitiation is by the substitutionary offering of God the Son.

3. This propitiation is sufficient for the sins of the world. We cannot doubt that if we remember by whom it was made.

III. THE PROPITIATION MADE USE OF. Propitiation does not save: it makes it possible for God. Propitiation removes the hindrance to the prodigal son going home, and when he says "I will arise and go to my Father," Faith is the going. The end of it, therefore, is the filial relationship fulfilled, and that is salvation.

(C. New.)

I. THE PROPITIATION OF CHRIST WAS DIVINE IN ITS PROVISION AND APPOINTMENT. The full meaning of the expression may be thus brought out:" Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiator who has made propitiation for our sins. For Christ is at once the selected victim, the sacrifice offered, the sacrificing priest, the altar on which the sacrifice was offered, and the propitiation made for sin.

II. VICARIOUS IS ITS NATURE. He is the propitiator who has made propitiation "for our sins." "He is Jesus Christ the Righteous" — not the innocent merely.

III. PROPITIATORY IN ITS OFFERING. The office of a propitiator, like that of a mediator, of which it is the foundation or groundwork, is to produce a state of reconciliation between parties at variance, by removing the cause of offence, propitiating the offended, and thus opening a way for a real and lasting reconciliation. By the constitution of His person He was well qualified to act as "daysman betwixt us, and to lay His hand upon us both."


1. Suited to the whole world. "The whole world lieth in wickedness," says John, and therefore the whole world needs a propitiation for its wickedness. And the propitiation made is suited to its needs. For it was made in the nature which had sinned in this world.

2. Sufficient for the whole world. The proof of this is not far to seek. John himself furnishes it when he says, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin." The blood shed was indeed human, but the person of His Son was Divine. It is an adequate "ransom for all," a sufficient propitiation for the sins of the whole world. No other and no greater sacrifice would have been required to secure the salvation of all men.

3. Available for the whole world.

V. UNCHANGING IN ITS EFFICACY. It has lost none of its value and its virtue by the lapse of time, the course of ages, the change of customs, the vicissitudes of nations, or by the ignorance and neglect, the arts, the discoveries, the inventions, and the advancement of mankind. This subject shows to us —

1. The manifestation of God's love to the world.

2. The foundation of the world's hope toward God.

3. The cause of the believer's life. Christ died that we might live — live by Him and for Him.

(George Robson.)

1. If the Cross was nothing more than the revelation of God's love, the power of the Cross was manifestly limited to those who knew of it. This surely could not be called a "larger view." Rather it belittled the Cross and limited its power. There were men and women who lived before Christ came; had they no share in the Cross? There were millions of heathen in the world; were they untouched by the passion of God? There were unbelievers around, some willing, some unwilling; were they all quite shut our from the Cross because they knew not the love revealed? "I beheld, and lo a Lamb as it had been slain." The Cross was in heaven as well as upon earth. It touched God as well as man; it had a meaning and a blessing for every human soul.

2. The subjective view failed to explain the whole ritual of the Jewish sacrifices.

3. It failed to explain terms and phrases of very frequent occurrence in the New Testament, such as "reconciliation," "peace by the blood of His Cross," "saved from wrath," etc. To say that Evangelical Christians put a heathen meaning into these terms and phrases, they would naturally ask how it came to pass that inspired men were allowed to use words that would so easily slip into heathen meanings. The words were misleading if the atonement was not a power on God as well as on man.

4. The subjective theory failed to satisfy the nature of man. Man had a conscience as well as a heart. A clergyman of Norfolk, once a Unitarian minister, said he should never forget his experience as he stood one day by the death bed of a poor, wretched man in a workhouse. He had just come to see that the Cross meant more than he had previously thought, "and for the first time in his life he had a plea for the awakened conscience." Nothing can satisfy the moral nature that does not meet God's love of righteousness.

(G. S. Barrett, D. D.)

? — For my own part I have no doubt the New Testament does contain a theory, or, as I should prefer to say, a doctrine of the atonement. The work of Christ in relation to sin is not a naked fact, an impenetrable, unintelligible fact; it is, in the New Testament, a luminous, interpretable, and interpreted fact. The love of Christ, says St. Paul, constraineth us, because we thus judge; i.e., because we can and do put a certain intellectual construction upon it.

(James Denney, D. D.)

An absolutely unintelligible fact, to an intelligent being, is exactly equivalent to zero.

(James Denney, D. D.)

When in London I like to visit one of the great hospitals, for the pleasure of seeing over its gates these generous words, "Royal Free Hospital, strangers, foreigners, etc., may freely partake of the benefits of this hospital." When I see "et cetera," I thank God, and I am delighted that there is one institution in our land that welcomes the "et cetera." It means, "and the rest," the anybody and everybody of mankind. Likewise this healing power of the Cross of Jesus is for the "et cetera." The saving power of the Cross is for all sick people who want to be healed.

(W. Birch.)

When John Elias was preaching at an association meeting at Llangefni to five or six thousand people from 1 John 2:2, he, as a high Calvinist, and partly for an oratorical purpose, laid great stress on the pronoun "our" — "our sins!" "and He is the propitiation for our sins," repeating the word again and again. Catherine Rondol, a peculiar and eccentric Welsh woman, impatient at his not quoting the whole verse, shouted out, "Yes, Elias, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD!" There is no need to say that Elias had no chance with the audience after that remark of Catherine's.

(Sword and Trowel.)

Christ "is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." It is not merely that He will be, if you repent and believe; He is so already. Apart from your choice, Christ is the propitiation for your sin. We are not, therefore, born into a lost world — but into a world redeemed by the death of the Son of Man, who is also the Son of God.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

Advocate, Anybody, Anyone, Christ, Counselor, Dear, Defense, Friend, Helper, Order, Patron, Righteous, Sin, Sinner, Sinneth, Sins, Speaks, Thus, Upright, Writing
1. He comforts them against the sins of infirmity.
3. Rightly to know God is to keep his commandments;
9. to love our brothers;
15. and not to love the world.
18. We must beware of antichrists;
20. from whose deceits the godly are safe, preserved by perseverance in faith, and holiness of life.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 John 2:1

     1125   God, righteousness
     1511   Trinity, relationships in
     2012   Christ, authority
     2072   Christ, righteousness
     2336   Christ, exaltation
     2360   Christ, prayers of
     3130   Holy Spirit, Counsellor
     5020   human nature
     5175   reading
     5360   justice, God
     6025   sin, and God's character
     6249   temptation, universal
     6682   mediation
     6750   sin-bearer
     8611   prayer, for others

1 John 2:1-2

     1075   God, justice of
     2306   Christ, high priest
     6653   forgiveness, divine
     6750   sin-bearer

Youthful Strength
'I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.'--1 John ii. 14. 'What am I going to be?' is the question that presses upon young people stepping out of the irresponsibilities of childhood into youth. But, unfortunately, the question is generally supposed to be answered when they have fixed upon a trade or profession. It means, rightly taken, a great deal more than that. 'What am I going to make of myself?' 'What
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

River and Rock
'The world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'--1 John ii. 17. John has been solemnly giving a charge not to love the world, nor the things that are in it. That charge was addressed to 'children,' 'young men,' 'fathers.' Whether these designations be taken as referring to growth and maturity of Christian experience, or of natural age, they equally carry the lesson that no age and no stage is beyond the danger of being drawn away by the world's
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Commandment, Old yet New
'I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.... Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you.'--1 John ii. 7, 8. The simplest words may carry the deepest thoughts. Perhaps angels and little children speak very much alike. This letter, like all of John's writing, is pellucid in speech, profound in thought, clear and deep, like the abysses of mid-ocean. His terms are such as a child can understand; his sentences short
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Thirtieth Day. The Unction from the Holy One.
And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things. And as for you, the anointing which ye received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as His anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in Him.'--1 John ii. 20, 27. In the revelation by Moses of God's Holiness and His way of making holy, the priests, and specially the high priests, were the chief expression of God's Holiness in man.
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

January the Twelfth Two Opposites
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." --1 JOHN ii. 13-17. No man can love two opposites any more than he can walk in contrary directions at the same time. No man can at once be mean and magnanimous, chivalrous and selfish. We cannot at the same moment dress appropriately for the arctic regions and the tropics. And we cannot wear the habits of the world and the garments of salvation. When we try to do it the result is a wretched and miserable compromise. I have seen a
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

The Difference Between Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith
"We walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Cor. 5:7. 1. How short is this description of real Christians! And yet how exceeding full! It comprehends, it sums up, the whole experience of those that are truly such, from the time they are born of God till they remove into Abraham's bosom. For, who are the we that are here spoken of? All that are true Christian believers. I say Christian, not Jewish, believers. All that are not only servants, but children, of God. All that have "the Spirit of adoption, crying
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Witness of the Spirit
Discourse I "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Rom. 8:16 1. How many vain men, not understanding what they spake, neither whereof they affirmed, have wrested this Scripture to the great loss if not the destruction of their souls! How many have mistaken the voice of their own imagination for this witness of the Spirit of God, and thence idly presumed they were the children of God while they were doing the works of the devil! These are truly and properly
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

A Bundle of Myrrh
Concerning our text, let us talk very simply, remarking first, that Christ is very precious to believers; secondly, that there is good reason why he should be; thirdly, that mingled with this sense of preciousness, there is a joyous consciousness of possession of him; and that therefore, fourthly, there is an earnest desire for perpetual fellowship with him. If you look at the text again, you will see all these matters in it. I. First, then, CHRIST JESUS IS UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. The
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864

In Him: Like Him
"Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in thee." We have entered into Christ as into the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, as guest; into a banquet-hall, as returning travellers into their home. And now we abide--in Christ in this sense, that we are joined to him : as the stone is, in the wall, as the wave is in the sea, as the branch is in the vine, so are we in Christ. As the branch receives all its sap from the stem, so all the sap of spiritual life flows from Christ into us. If
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 29: 1883

What God is to Us.
Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.--"The lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands." There is nothing can separate between God and a people but iniquity, and yet he is very loath to separate even for that. He makes many shows of departing, that so we may hold him fast, and indeed he is not difficult to be holden. He threatens often to remove his presence from a person or nation, and he threatens, that he may not indeed remove, but that
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Brooks -- the Pride of Life
Phillips Brooks was born at Boston, Mass., in 1835, graduated at Harvard in 1855 and studied theology at the P.E. Seminary, Alexandria, Va. He was elected rector of the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia, in 1859, and three years later to that of Holy Trinity in the same city. In 1869 he became rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and was consecrated Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891. He died in 1893. He was in every sense a large man, large in simplicity and sympathy, large in spiritual culture. In his
Grenville Kleiser—The world's great sermons, Volume 8

That to Him who Loveth God is Sweet Above all Things and in all Things
Behold, God is mine, and all things are mine! What will I more, and what more happy thing can I desire? O delightsome and sweet world! that is, to him that loveth the Word, not the world, neither the things that are in the world.(1) My God, my all! To him that understandeth, that word sufficeth, and to repeat it often is pleasing to him that loveth it. When Thou art present all things are pleasant; when Thou art absent, all things are wearisome. Thou makest the heart to be at rest, givest it
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

But Since no Man is Worthy to Come Forward in his Own Name...
But since no man is worthy to come forward in his own name, and appear in the presence of God, our heavenly Father, to relieve us at once from fear and shame, with which all must feel oppressed, [8] has given us his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be our Advocate and Mediator, that under his guidance we may approach securely, confiding that with him for our Intercessor nothing which we ask in his name will be denied to us, as there is nothing which the Father can deny to him (1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1;
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Moreover, the Sophists are Guilty of the Merest Trifling when they Allege that Christ Is...
Moreover, the Sophists are guilty of the merest trifling when they allege that Christ is the Mediator of redemption, but that believers are mediators of intercession; as if Christ had only performed a temporary mediation, and left an eternal and imperishable mediation to his servants. Such, forsooth, is the treatment which he receives from those who pretend only to take from him a minute portion of honour. Very different is the language of Scripture, with whose simplicity every pious man will be
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

The Last Day.
This gospel day is the last day. There never will be another age of time. An age-to-come teacher is branded by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, as a false teacher. We need no other age in which to prepare for eternity. This is the day of salvation. "Now is the accepted time." Now is the day and this is the time for us to accept Christ, and to be accepted of him. The Word of God holds no promise to you of another day of salvation. How can man, unless he be wholly subverted, teach another age to
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Add to This, and Here is Cause to Cry Out More Piteously...
37. Add to this, (and here is cause to cry out more piteously,) that, if once we grant it to have been right for the saving of that sick man's life to tell him the lie, that his son was alive, then, by little and little and by minute degrees, the evil so grows upon us, and by slight accesses to such a heap of wicked lies does it, in its almost imperceptible encroachments, at last come, that no place can ever be any where found on which this huge mischief, by smallest additions rising into boundless
St. Augustine—Against Lying

(On the Mysteries. Iii. )
On Chrism. 1 John ii. 20-28 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, &c.....that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1. Having been baptized into Christ, and put on Christ [2415] , ye have been made conformable to the Son of God; for God having foreordained us unto adoption as sons [2416] , made us to be conformed to the body of Christ's glory [2417] . Having therefore become partakers of Christ [2418] , ye are properly called Christs, and
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

But, Again, Lest by Occasion of this Sentence...
50. But, again, lest by occasion of this sentence, any one should sin with deadly security, and should allow himself to be carried away, as though his sins were soon by easy confession to be blotted out, he straightway added, "My little children, these things have I written unto you, that ye sin not; and, if one shall have sinned, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and Himself is a propitiation of our sins." [2207] Let no one therefore depart from sin as though about
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

Evidences of Regeneration.
III. Wherein saints and sinners must differ. 1. Let it be distinctly remembered, that all unregenerate persons, without exception, have one heart, that is, they are selfish. This is their whole character. They are universally and only devoted to self-gratification. Their unregenerate heart consists in this selfish disposition, or in this selfish choice. This choice is the foundation of, and the reason for, all their activity. One and the same ultimate reason actuates them in all they do, and in all
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

What Passes and what Abides
'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.'--ECCLES. i. 4. 'And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'--1 JOHN ii. 17. A great river may run through more than one kingdom, and bear more than one name, but its flow is unbroken. The river of time runs continuously, taking no heed of dates and calendars. The importance that we attach to the beginnings or endings of years and centuries is a
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourfold Symbols of the Spirit
'A rushing mighty wind.' ... 'Cloven tongues like as of fire.' ... 'I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.' --ACTS ii. 2, 3, 17. 'Ye have an unction from the Holy One.'--1 JOHN ii. 20. Wind, fire, water, oil,--these four are constant Scriptural symbols for the Spirit of God. We have them all in these fragments of verses which I have taken for my text now, and which I have isolated from their context for the purpose of bringing out simply these symbolical references. I think that perhaps we
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The World Our Enemy.
"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness."--1 John v. 19. Few words are of more frequent occurrence in the language of religion than "the world;" Holy Scripture makes continual mention of it, in the way of censure and caution; in the Service for Baptism it is described as one of three great enemies of our souls, and in the ordinary writings and conversation of Christians, I need hardly say, mention is made of it continually. Yet most of us, it would appear, have very
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII

The Wilderness: Temptation. Matthew 4:1-11. Mark 1:12, 13. Luke 4:1-13.
The University of Arabia: Jesus' naturalness--the Spirit's presence--intensity, Luke 2:45-51.--a true perspective--- the temptation's path--sin's path--John's grouping, 1 John 2:16.--the Spirit's plan--why--the devil's weakness--the Spirit's leading--a wilderness for every God-used man, Moses, Elijah, Paul. Earth's Ugliest, Deepest Scar: Jesus the only one led up to be tempted--the wilderness--its history, Genesis 13:10-13. 18:16-19:38.--Jesus really tempted--no wrong here in inner response--every
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

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