"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1)
He warns the Church against sin. But, aware what a body of sin and death the best of men carry about with them, be bids them, under all sin, and all discouragements, to look to CHRIST. And how blessedly he speaks. If any man sin. And who is there of the LORD'S people; which sins not? We have (saith he) an Advocate with the FATHER, JESUS CHRIST the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. Observe. We, that is, the Church have this Advocate. We have not now to look out for an advocate. We have One, yea, an Almighty One. And he is both an Advocate, and a Propitiation; that is, he hath both paid our debt as a Propitiation, and now takes up our persons and our causes, as an Advocate, to see our sins all cancelled, and done away in his blood. And, observe yet further. This Advocate which we have, is with the FATHER. He who hath set forth CHRIST, as a Propitiation in his blood. So that GOD, who hath given CHRIST, and set forth CHRIST as a Propitiation, is He, with whom CHRIST hath to do, as our Advocate. And I pray the Reader yet further to observe. The Apostle doth not say, we have an Advocate with our FATHER: for though he is our FATHER in CHRIS ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼JESUS, and very blessed it is to know him as such, in numberless instances and occasions; yet here, CHRIST is said to be an Advocate with the FATHER. Not only CHRIST'S FATHER, and our FATHER, but the FATHER. What! is there more in the expression the FATHER, than our FATHER, or CHRIST'S FATHER? Yes! upon the present occasion for which John writes. For let it be observed, that as John is holding forth this encouragement to the Church of CHRIST, that CHRIST is an Advocate and Propitiation for his people under the infirmities of sin; he is dealing with us as on the footing of GOD'S justice. He considers the FATHER, therefore, as GOD, holy and just; and One that will not clear the guilty, Exodus 34:7. Hence he tells the Church, that CHRIST is with the FATHER, both as a Propitiation for sin, having fully paid down on the judgment-seat, the compleat price for our redemption; and also while there (which he ever is,) he is an Advocate, to plead, and see that his Church is accepted, pardoned, justified, sanctified, and glorified, according to the agreement in Covenant-settlements.
Reader! what a blessed subject is here? Oh! what confidence might the faith of it produce, if grace was always in lively exercise, to come with it before GOD? Who would ever feel deadness, fears, doubts, misgivings, or even heart-straitenings in prayer, if he beheld the throne of grace, the pardon office, the mercy-seat of the LORD, thus encircled with mercy; JESUS, both the Propitiation for sin, and the Advocate for the cause of his people? What shall stop or silence the plea of JESUS CHRIST the righteous, with the righteous FATHER? This was our LORD'S own plea, when upon earth. 0 righteous FATHER! John 17:25. And it is his people's plea, taught by him, and offered up in him, now he is in heaven. And there is a great degree of blessedness in it, when rightly considered. For, when we thus plead, we plead upon the right and footing of GOD'S￼￼￼ ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼justice. When we look up to GOD, simply as we are in ourselves; we can only look up for pardon and grace, as helpless sinners. But, when we look up in the interest of CHRIST, from an union with CHRIST; we then plead on the score of justice. And hence, upon this account it was, that Paul called the crown, which he knew was laid up for him, a crown of righteousness; because it was the just earnings of CHRIST'S blood and righteousness. And Paul declared, that when it was given to him, it would be by the righteous Judge, 2 Timothy 4:8. Reader! what know you of these things? Are you so looking to the throne? Can you hear the awful threatenings of GOD'S holy law against sins; and yet look undismayed, under the consciousness of a broken law, to the LORD'S righteous judgment against every single breach of it, because you behold the whole law fulfilled, in the Person of your Almighty Surety, and know your security in Him? If so, then will you enter into a blessed personal enjoyment of this sweet scripture, in stedfastly beholding and resting upon him, who is your Advocate, and with the FATHER, JESUS CHRIST the righteous; and who is the propitiation for your sins! See Romans 3:25 and Commentary: