Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day Thirty: Advocate

The WORD of the Day:

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

--Romans 8:31-32, 37-39

Let Me Give You a Lift:

It is very common to think of God and Christ as Lord and Savior, but how often do we think of either of them as advocates? For us?  It strikes me as odd that the perfect should be defending and pleading the case of the imperfect, but that is what the Bible tells us. 

We all know the story of Job. Satan was convinced that the only reason Job loved God is because God blessed Job with earthly things.  So Satan took away those blessing to see if Job would turn from God.  Job's "friends" kept telling him that it was because Job had sinned some great sin, but Job knew better. He said:

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend...
John echoed this same sentiment in the New Testament, writing:
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.
Jesus is our advocate, defending us despite of our many faults. Despite the entire world's many faults.  It's not uncommon nowadays to hear people complaining about how the world is going to "hell in a hand basket," longing for the good ole' days, and wondering why God tolerates a world full of so much awfulness.  The answer is simple: he wants us all. Consider Peter's words:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
God's love for us was so great, that he allowed Jesus to sacrifice for us. Why? So that Jesus could be our advocate, standing before the father, pleading our case.  And how does Jesus become our advocate? When we accept Him as such.  Any lawyer (including this one) will tell you that if you have a client unwilling to cooperate, your case is not going to get very far; you won't convince a judge or jury you are right. The client has to be willing to listen and participate for advocacy to be successful.

Imagine it this way: It's Judgment Day. You come before God the ultimate Judge knowing that He sees your whole life in front of Him, and it's impossible to deny even a single sin (of which there are many for all of us).  Now imagine Jesus, standing in front of you, telling God "I have taken on this person's sins and wiped them away with my own blood; therefore there is no evidence against him. He is innocent!"

And all you can think is WOW. 

God wants Christ to be everyone's advocate. Jesus wants to be everyone's advocate. We have the best team on our side anyone could possibly ask for, and all we have to do is cooperate, participate, and let them do the rest. When we do, no force in existence can separate us from God in this life or the next.

Give it a Listen:

Today, you get a twofer. The Unspoken song below is what I originally planned to include today (and is great), but this morning the Afters is on my heart.  This song, "Light Up the Sky," is about God's deep love and ever-presence.  And I love this video. The Afters, more than most, do a great job of telling a story with their songs. If you'll remember, we had a song from them on Day Five too. Enjoy. Really.

Today's other song is “Who You Are” by Unspoken, and it's another beautiful song about redemption.  There are lots of them, but forgiveness and renewal are so important to hear because sometimes the hardest thing to believe is that we can always change and we can always be forgiven. "Let the ashes fall where ever they land, and come back from wherever you've can never fall too far, so fast, so hard that you can't get back when you're lost where you are."

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