Monday, July 27, 2015


By Hayley Boud

One of my roles at work is to be an advocate. That means I support or plead the cause of another – even when I don’t agree with what they have done.  For example, if someone comes into work and says, “I got caught stealing from pak ‘n save and now I’ve been charged with theft”, I will do everything I can to advocate for that person – even though I don’t agree with stealing.  This makes me think of what Jesus does for me and how He advocates on my behalf. 


1 John 2:1-2, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”.


First He calls us dear children.  We are dear children of God.  He loves us dearly and thinks of us in the same way a father thinks of his child (but obviously greater – since He is God and not human).  When I think about the love my dad has for me, it makes me think about how much he tries to protect me, look after me, keep me safe, do things for me, support me materially and emotionally.  It reminds me of when I was a teenager and how dad was so strict because he loved me so much and didn’t want me to get into trouble. 


I was allowed to go out on a Friday night to bible study but I had to be home before 10pm because the study finished at 9pm and he expected we would have supper and come straight home.  On a Saturday I had to do my homework before I started work at 12:30pm and then I had to come straight home after work at 6pm.  If it was winter, he would pick me up from work because he didn’t want me to bike home in the dark.  I was allowed to go to youth group but I had be home as soon as it was over.  On a Sunday I was allowed to go to church and then to a friend’s place after church for lunch but I had to ring him as soon as I got to my friend’s house and I had to call him every hour on the hour until I got home which had to be before 6pm.  It sounds so drastic but dad loves me and didn’t want me to get hurt in any way.  Imagine how much more God loves us.


Because God loves us, like dear children, He has sin, “I write this to you so that you will not sin”.  That’s God’s love – He wants to keep us safe from sin.  He knows that sin is a danger for us.  When we sin, at the time it seems like fun but afterwards we reap what we sow and we wish we hadn’t done it (Gal 6:7).  For example, clients come in and they confess their crimes and they cry and regret what they did but it doesn’t stop them from reaping the consequence of their actions.  I’ve seen big men with tattoos crying because they have been charged with male assaults female.  They are sorry, they ask for forgiveness but they can’t avoid being convicted and facing prison time.


We can be really sorry for our sin, but we will still reap the consequence of it.  Even if we think that sin is small or no one will know, we will reap the consequence.  Sin is sin, it doesn’t matter how small it is, we will reap the consequence and God loves us like dear children and wants to keep us from the danger of sin.  But God isn’t strict like my dad was.  He gives us free-will to make our own decisions which means we should be strict on ourselves.  Now that I’m an adult, I take the lessons my dad gave me and I do everything I can to keep myself safe.  I lock all the doors and windows when I’m at home alone, I only walk along the river if I have my dog with me, I vary my routine, I don’t go into public toilets alone.  This keeps me physically safe.


What am I doing to keep myself spiritually safe?  How do I protect myself from sin?  Sometimes that means being really strict on myself and making a decision and sticking to it.  If I know that I’m tempted by a person or by places, then I don’t go there.  I surround myself with people who have my best interests in mind and I can trust not to tempt me.  I confess when I’m tempted to someone I trust so they can help me not to fall.  I pray and read the Bible.  We need strategies in place to protect ourselves like the kinds of strategies Dad used to keep me safe as a teenager.  God will never force us, so we have to force ourselves.


Remember satan is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour so we have to alert in the same way that we would be if we were walking through a wild life park with lions on the prowl.  Our eyes and ears would be wide open and ready to react if we suspect the lion is advancing.  In fact, I would probably make a decision not to walk in the park to start with.  That’s how we have to think about sin.  Find strategies to keep ourselves from being attacked by satan and when we are attacked, find ways not to give in to the temptation.  God has promised there is always a way out – so make sure to take that way out.


“But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”


Our aim is to not sin.  However, there are times when we fail and we fall into the temptation.  When that happens, we can trust that we have an advocate in Jesus.  We can go straight to Jesus and admit our sin and repent. 


I looked up the Greek meaning of this word “advocate” and found: legal advisor, pleader, one who comes forward on behalf of and as the representative of another.  In court when a client pleads guilty, a lawyer’s role is to stand up and say, “Your Honour, counsel’s name is Ms Boud, I appear for the defendant”. The guilty person says nothing.  They stand there silent while the lawyer talks on their behalf.  It’s my role to advocate and defend the person, even when I think they deserve to go to prison.  It’s not always easy to defend someone you think deserves to be punished (we always deserve to be punished yet, Jesus always defends us).


The prosecution will stand up and state the reason why the defendant is there, e.g. “Your Honour, the defendant has been charged with…”and then they will give a statement detailing what the defendant did.


The Judge will ask the lawyer, how does the defendant plead and the lawyer will say, “guilty your Honour”. Then the defence lawyer makes a submission on behalf of the defendant around the sentencing.  Many of my clients have been charged with an offence where the charge carries a mandatory disqualification from driving period.  However, there are special circumstances where that disqualification can be substituted for community work.

When we sin, we are charged with an offence in front of God.  Jesus quickly stands up and speaks in our place.  If we admit our sin, He will say, “Hayley pleads guilty”.  The usual sentence for sin is death but Jesus says, “I already paid the price for her sin when I died on the cross - Father, I'm asking you substitute her sentence of death for my death on the cross”. We are forgiven and set free.  There are no bail conditions, no court costs to pay, no hail Marys or other religious purging of sin.  We are completely free of sin. 


Imagine that you are charged with an offence and the sentence is the death penalty but someone stands up and says, “I appear for the defendant and I will die in their place”. It is truly amazing the Jesus did that for us.  We didn’t deserve it, we deserved the death penalty but He loves us so much that He paid the price.  When we sin, we can be assured that Jesus advocates on our behalf and God the Father accepts Jesus’ death on the cross in place of our own.


But only if we accept to repent which means to admit the sin, say sorry and make a decision not to sin again.  Every time Jesus healed someone, He would say, “sin no more” which means we don’t have the right to say sorry and expect to be forgiven if we haven’t made a decision to stop sinning. 


The Judge in a court will give a lighter sentence if they believe the defendant shows genuine remorse and has made steps to not do it again.  For example, if someone is caught drink driving but on the day of sentencing they show genuine remorse, have been to alcohol counselling and haven’t driven while under the influence since, the Judge will take all of that into consideration when sentencing. 


For God the Father, His only consideration is whether we have repented.  Repentance means saying sorry and making a decision not to make the same mistake again.  The only way we can prove to others we are serious about not making that same mistake is to put into place strategies to ensure we don’t.  Like the drink driver who gets alcohol counselling and decides never to drink alcohol again.  We have to make a decision and let God know. 


E.g. “God, I’m sorry, I got really angry and I talked really rudely to that person.  I know that the wages of sin is death.  Please forgive me for anger, for my pride, for lack of love because Your Word says that love is not rude, for lack of self-control.  I’m sorry.  I promise to change.  When I feel anger rising up in me, I promise to walk away from the situation and take time to pray to You and ask for Your help.  I promise to wait until the anger has gone before talking to anyone so I won’t talk rudely again.  Please wash me in Your blood and take away my sin, please remember it no more, please remove it from me as far as the West is from the East.  Thank you for your forgiveness, Thank you Jesus for paying the price for my sin.  Thank you for the promise to make a way out for me when I am being tempted.  Help me to take that way out.  In Jesus’ name, Amen”.


When we ask for forgiveness and we are genuinely sorry and we make a decision not to go back to our sin…Jesus is our advocate and we are forgiven!


“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world”.


Now we have been forgiven, we have to remember others.  We need to help others to be free from sin and death also.  We need to pray for others, love, support, teach with gentleness and kindness, forgive etc.  Our actions are very important.  Jesus is our advocate because he is the righteous one.  We need to keep ourselves from sin (be righteous) so we can help others to find salvation and forgiveness of sin.  When we sin, we push people away from the Kingdom of God. 


In conclusion, Jesus is our advocate and through Him our sins are wiped clean but only if we are genuinely sorry and make a decision not to go back to that sin again.  God loves us dearly, like a Father, and wants to keep us safe from danger (sin).  God doesn’t force us to not sin, we have to find our own strategies to not sin.  When we sin there are consequences for ourselves and for those around us.  Our sin can prevent others from entering the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, let’s keep ourselves from sin, find those strategies that help us not to sin and let’s help those around us to be protected from temptation.



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