The Advocate

Michelle Christy

Read: John 8:1-11

Neither do I condemn you . . . (v. 11)

My sin-filled failure feels like a slap in the face, yet I hear my Bible study leader’s words, “If it feels like a slap in the face, it is not God.” We discuss the difference between condemnation and conviction. The leader’s words bring me comfort and grace. The shame of sin drives me hard, twisting the Spirit’s conviction into condemnation. Yet God’s Word says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). When Jesus sees the accused, he advocates.

Amidst the brood of scribes and Pharisees, Jesus disarms and disbands the would-be stone-throwers. Jesus intervenes and advocates for the adulterous woman. With astonished relief, she confesses that no one condemns her any longer. To that Jesus agrees. Her shame demands sin’s payment, yet Jesus says: “Go, and from now on sin no more.” Jesus offers forbearing kindness and truthful admonition.

The apostle John tells us we have one called helper, comforter, and advocate—the parakletos in Greek—who pleads our case before the Father and comes as counselor to our side. “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:1-2). When the accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10) speaks loud accusation, hear the advocate compassionately intervene. Receive his gracious admonition. Jesus offers tender conviction, not the slap of the accuser’s condemnation. —Michelle Christy

Prayer: Let your compassionate conviction lead us to repentance.