We saw yesterday that though we are children of light and are called to live that way, we do fall at times. And when we do, if we confess our sins and repent, God will forgive us. (1:9)
Here in these two short verses, we see the basis of that forgiveness.
John tells us,
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense — 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. (1-2)
Again, John emphasizes here that as children of light, we are not to live in darkness. But he then comforts us by saying that if we do fall into darkness, we have someone who defends us. That Jesus himself stands before the Father as our defense attorney.
What is the basis for his defense of us? His atoning sacrifice for us on the cross. What does that mean exactly?
For a lot of pagan cultures, they made sacrifices to appease the wrath of the gods and regain their favor.
John uses the same picture here…with one huge difference. It is not us who makes the sacrifice that appeases the wrath of God and makes him see us with favor once again. Rather, it is God the Father himself who sent his Son as a sacrifice. As Abraham once put it in a story that foreshadowed his heavenly Father’s work,
God himself will provide the lamb for the [sacrifice.] (Genesis 22:8)
And so God did on the cross. He provided the lamb, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Jesus who never sinned or did anything wrong, took the punishment for our sins. And as Jesus was on that cross, God poured all his wrath on him.
The result? Jesus now stands with us before the Father and says, “Father, I have paid the price for their sins and failings.”
And the Father answers, “That’s right.” And not only does he dismiss our case, he pours out his love upon us once again.
That’s mercy. That’s grace. It belongs to all who are truly his children. And it comes to us through Jesus Christ.
How then can we not live lives of gratitude for the one who saved us? How can we not want to be like him?
Lord Jesus, thank you for what you did on that cross 2000 years ago. That through your sacrifice, my sins are forgiven and God’s love and grace are poured down on me. Now Lord, make me like you. I want to be like you, reflecting that love and grace to those around me that they may know you too. Work in me, changing me into your likeness. And work through me that others may know that love and grace too. In Jesus name, amen.