Advocate and Propitiation EGP Blog post from December 18, 2012

1 John 2:1–2 ()

[1] My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; [2] and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

1 John 2:1 Gr Paracletos, one called alongside to help; or Intercessor
1 John 2:2 Or satisfaction

Throughout the New Testament, we see the call to “go and sin no more” (), “stop sinning” (), etc (). At the same time, we also find the message that we will continue to sin as long as we have these sinful bodies (). Also, we’re commanded not to sin for simply because we know that we’ll be forgiven (, ). So, how does all this fit together?

An “advocate” is “someone that pleads the cause of another.” In this case, it’s Jesus Christ the Righteous One! So, what this passage is saying, is that we should aim NOT to sin, because purposely continuing in sin is a sign of an unchanged heart. However, but when we do stumble, Christ is there to plead our case to the Father.

“Propitiation” is another word we don’t hear often (or at all). It means, “to gain or regain the favor or goodwill of; appease.” So, while Christ pleads our case to the Father, He is doing so by His own sacrifice that makes us “not guilty” before the Holy God.

The final part of this passage is the cause for much confusion, by saying that Christ isn’t just the propitiation for our sins only, “but also for those of the whole world.” The Bible makes it clear that those that entrust their salvation to Christ will be saved and those that reject Christ will be condemned (, ). So how could this passage say that Christ is the propitiation for the whole world’s sins? Simply put, it’s because His sacrifice is available to everyone, but only those who entrust their salvation to Christ have Him as their Advocate, pleading His payment for our sins.