When a man I had begun to counsel was accused of a crime, he turned himself in to the local police station. Bill anticipated signing a document and being released, but instead was arrested and held in the Detention Centre. Having no surety for bail, he remained in custody for two months until his trial. One reason for his time behind bars was that he was initially represented by the “duty counsel”–a court appointed lawyer for those who cannot afford one of their own. (The duty counsel has earned the reputation of giving somewhat of a lackluster performance, perhaps because of the volume of cases). Visiting Bill at the Detention Centre, I heard of his frustration at not getting adequate legal help. Then, a lawyer he hired seemed to improve his case. Following the trial he was released, quite relieved to be free again.
Although you may not identify with the need for legal defense with a human court, what about God’s court? The writer of Hebrews boldly warns of His sovereign justice: “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:30,31).
Do you know a good lawyer? Yes–if Jesus is your Savior! He is your defense counsel. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). What a blessing!
What qualifies the Lord Jesus to victoriously represent us?
1. Christ’s sinless life qualifies Him as our advocate.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
2. Christ’s death qualifies Him as our advocate.
As 1 John 2:1,2 declares, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
3. Christ’s resurrection qualifies Him as our advocate.
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
4. Christ’s ascension qualifies Him as our advocate.
Romans 8:34 assures us, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Because our Savior has satisfied divine justice by dying in our place and rising again, we have a gracious pardon! (Cf. Rom. 3:23-26).
Former president of Moody Bible Institute, William Culbertson, wrote of the benefits of Christ’s ministry in heaven on our behalf.
“It is well to remind ourselves that our blessed Saviour is faithful to us in the hour of our great need. Let us not add to Scripture, but let us believe exactly what it says; namely, that ‘if any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ Therefore as soon as a child of God has failed, the Lord Jesus is ministering as his Advocate. Such loving ministry should melt our hardened hearts and cause us to live for Him completely. He is our Representative. He is the answer to all the accusations of the devil. The pleading of His blood is the full and final answer to any question concerning the standing of the child of God.”
I was speaking with another brother in Christ who is discovering the Lord Jesus as his Advocate. Although aware that the Enemy is “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10), this believer joyfully exclaimed, “Christ never loses a case against Satan’s accusations!” Amen! We don’t just have a “duty counsel”; we have an unfailing Advocate.
We also have an intercessor in our hearts. The Holy Spirit indwells every true believer (Cf. Eph. 1:13). Find comfort from His spiritual ministry in your life: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8:26-27).
This hymn of Charles Wesley declares the believer’s security in Christ:
Arise, my soul, arise! Shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice, In my behalf appears.
Before the Throne my Surety stands;
My name is written on His hands.
He ever lives above, For me to intercede;
His all-redeeming love, His precious blood to plead.
His blood atoned for All our race,
And sprinkles now the Throne of grace.
My God is reconciled, His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child, I can no longer fear.
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And ‘Father, Abba Father’ cry.
Thank You, LORD, that we need not fear the bar of your justice if Christ is our Savior and Advocate. We rejoice in the blessing of divine intercession on our behalf. Inspire us to live confidently with this blessed assurance. In Christ’s name, amen.
 This incident took place in Ontario, Canada. “Bill” is not his real name.
 William Culbertson, God’s Provision for Holy Living, p.75,76
Copyright (c) by John Woodward, 1999. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.