Chapter 8: Our Advocate, Friend And Substitute

In this chapter the focus of our attention falls on the very special work that Jesus, our Judge, Advocate, Substitute and Friend is doing on our behalf in the most holy place where John saw Jesus standing in the center of the throne as a Lamb - 'looking as if it had been slain.' (Rev 5:6)

The work that the slain Lamb of God is doing for us, even today, is of utmost importance and significance.
'As in the typical service the priest looked by faith to the mercy seat which he could not see, so the people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great High Priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading in their behalf in the sanctuary above.' (PP353)
With such a fine and efficient High Priest, none need fear, for . . .
'Our Redeemer has opened the way so that the most sinful, the most needy, the most oppressed and despised, may find access to the Father.' (DA113)
'No sooner does the child of God approach the mercy seat than he becomes the client of the great Advocate. At his first utterance of penitence and appeal for pardon Christ [takes up] his case and makes it His own request. As Christ intercedes in our behalf, the Father lays open all the treasures of His grace for our appropriation, to be enjoyed and to be communicated to others.' (6T364)
With these encouraging thoughts in mind, it is good to know that even our most faltering of prayers ascends to the sanctuary where they are edited, so to speak, and presented by Jesus in the most eloquent rhetoric to the Master of the universe.
'The prayer of the humble suppliant He [Jesus] presents as His own desire in that soul's behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His perfection.' (DA667)
Then, besides being our High Priest and our Advocate, Jesus is also our best friend. This is why . . .
'Every soul if he will may say, I have a Friend at court.' (MS101, 1897)
And there, in the courts of heaven, Jesus pleads our case, not just to secure our acquittal, but because, as a true Friend, He genuinely longs to spend eternity with us.
Job gives us some idea of the friendship that we should be enjoying with Jesus. Said Job . . .
'My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.' (Job 16:20,21)
When Jesus pleads our case, He does not present our imperfect lives to God - for by so doing He would surely be pleading a lost cause. Rather, He steps boldly before the throne and declares to the Father that He has suffered our penalty and, because we have accepted Him as our Saviour, He is entitled to stand, not only as our representative, but also as our substitute.
So please do take courage, dear fellow sinner, for . . .
'He has never lost a case that has been committed to Him. We may trust in our Advocate; for He pleads His own merits in our behalf.' (RH, Aug. 15, 1893)
'As the prayers of the sincere and contrite ones ascend to heaven Christ says to the Father, "I will take their sins. Let them stand before you innocent." ' (7BC930/1)
The argument of Jesus' life, presented as the only evidence in our case, is so powerful that it wins for us not only a complete pardon, but an addendum is attached to the verdict declaring that, as far as the Great Judge is concerned, we are perfect and we always have been perfect. This is why . . .
If you give yourself to Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, . . .
for His sake you are accounted righteous,
Christ's character stands in place of your character,
and you are accepted before God as if you had not sinned.' (SC62)
What an Advocate! He secures for erring sinners a verdict of absolute innocence, and this verdict covers a time span ranging from eternity in the past to eternity in the future.
And what a Judge! What judge on this earth would allow his son to suffer our punishment? What judge on this earth would make believe that the character of his son is the character of the accused? What judge on this earth would declare us to be righteous, on the strength of the righteousness of a third party? What judge on this earth would consider that we had never erred, knowing full well that we have erred exceedingly?
In truth, Jesus is such a great Advocate and Friend, and the Judge is so kind and gracious, that together they have devised a plan, not only to secure our release from the condemnation of the law, but also to secure our justification.
But just what is meant by this word . . . justification?
'[Justification] is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.' (TM456)
'When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness.' (6BC1073)
In a nutshell, when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Substitute, and we give our lives to Him, . . .
1 we receive a full and complete pardon for sin - regardless of our past, and . . . (6BC1071)
2 God declares before all the universe that we are perfectly righteous and that we always have been perfectly righteous. (1SM392)
What is most encouraging, however, is the good news that this transaction is not conditional on human achievement, for it takes place from the moment that we accept Jesus as our Saviour.
'The moment the sinner believes in Christ, he stands in the sight of God uncondemned; for the righteousness of Christ is His: Christ's perfect obedience is imputed to him [put to his account].' (FE429)
'When the sinner believes that Christ is His personal Saviour, then [in that moment], according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely.' (1SM367)
We will appreciate, therefore, that justification is a gift and that, as such, it cannot be earned. It is a gift that we receive from the moment that true faith comes to life.
'The moment true faith in the merits of the costly atoning sacrifice is exercised, claiming Christ as a personal Saviour, that moment the sinner is justified before God, because he is pardoned.' (3SM195)
In that wondrous moment, . . .
'All our transgressions are transferred to Christ. While he who knew no sin was made sin for us, and the sinless is accounted sinful, the righteousness of Christ is placed upon the undeserving, so that the repenting sinner is declared to be sinless before God.’ (ST 01-16-96)
Clearly, therefore, if we are justified in the moment that faith flickers to life, we certainly do not have much opportunity to earn our justification. This is why we have been told that . . .
'The sinner cannot depend upon his own good works as a means of justification.' (6BC1071)
And this is why we need a complete Saviour, and this is why salvation must be a free gift, for . . .
'No man of himself can repent and make himself worthy of the blessing of justification.' (1SM390)
Of course, we can reject the gift of justification, and this through persistence in premeditated sin, but we cannot do anything to earn or to deserve the gift - and this is why the good news assures us that . . .
'The grace of Christ is freely to justify the sinner without merit or claim on his part.' (6BC1071)
This being the case, shall we not give thanks and praise to God in that. . .
'The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God.' (1SM360)
Shall we not rejoice in the knowledge that our own works can never bring justification, and that . . .
'The Gift . . . brought justification' (Romans 5:16)
The only problem with all of this good news is that it is almost too good to believe, yet Scripture assures us that . . .
'The result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.' (Romans 5:18)
Notice from the above verse that it was His act of righteousness that brought justification - not our acts of righteousness. Notice too that His act of righteousness actually made full and abundant provision for the justification of all men - that is, for everyone who ever lived, and for everyone who is yet to be born.
This being the case, it remains only for us as individuals to accept the gift by acknowledging our sinfulness and by declaring that we have a desperate need of a complete Saviour - and a desperate need of a righteousness that is all His and none of ours.
Shall we not marvel at the thought that . . .
'Through His sacrifice, human beings may reach the high ideal set before them, and hear at last the words, "Ye are complete in him," not having your own righteousness, but the righteousness that He wrought out for you. Your imperfection is no longer seen; for you are clothed with the robe of Christ's perfection.' (7BC907)
This is good news, indeed, and this is our only hope; and this is why . . .
'His righteousness must be your righteousness. He wrought it out for you, and when you receive it you stand justified in the presence of God.' (MM115)
This is the kind of good news that motivates us to work and to live holy lives, not in order to be saved, but because God loves us with such an amazing love. Once we know how much He loves us, and we realize how undeserving we are of all that He has done for us, we will work with the right motive - we will work, not out of fear of loss, not out of fear of death, but because we love and appreciate Him who first loved us and who, through infinite suffering, purchased our right to be saved.

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