Seven Comforting Portraits of Christ Our Savior-1
A Study of 1 John 2
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 5/2/04
In our recent trip to England, one of the highlights for my wife was staying in Thoresby Hall, a great palatial manor house, once owned by her distant relatives, that sits in Sherwood Forest. We visited the hall once before, but it was closed. Today it has been turned into a hotel. As we wandered the halls of this mansion we saw many portraits hanging in the library, the great hall, the hallways and the rooms. Some of the portraits we recognized. Most of them we didn’t. However, these portraits were interesting to ponder. As far as we were able to discern, just one painting on display belonged to the family. It was a huge portrait of King Charles I mounted on his horse. It stood on the first landing at the end of the Great Hall looking liked he would charge down the steps at any moment in the huge room. While this and the other paintings were certainly interesting, they really were of little or no significance to us. Yet, as we study 1 John 2, we will be looking at 7 Comforting Portraits of Christ Our Savior. We will see…
Let’s take a look at the first portrait…
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:1-2
The apostle John is now well advanced in age both physically and spiritually. He regards his readers as "little children." This is a translation of the Greek word teknia (teknia). In the New Testament this word is sometimes used of teachers to describe their disciples. This is how the old apostle uses the term. He has a great love for his disciples. Therefore, he urges them not to sin. He says, "these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." Any Christian should know that the goal of the believer is to live a holy life (1 Peter 1:15-16). Believers are to strive to "put off the old man…" (Colossians 3:9). He wants them to be diligent in resisting sin. At the same time, he recognizes that there is no such thing as sinless perfection this side of Heaven. That is when he introduces the picture as Jesus Christ as our Advocate with God the Father. John says, "and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." The word advocate here is paraklhton (parakleton) which means one who pleads another’s cause before a judge. Jesus Christ is our advocate. He stands at the right hand of God pleading with Him to forgive our sins.
Do you see the serious situation that an unsaved person is in? They have NO representation before the Judge of All The Earth! They are guilty (Romans 3:19). And, what is the end of those who are guilty before God? They will be condemned and turned into Hell (John 3:18; Psalm 9:17). If you are not saved, I would urge you to evaluate you situation! You need "Jesus Christ the righteous" to represent you before the throne of God. Every time the believer sins the Lord Jesus Christ pleads the believer’s case, and wins. Turn with me to Hebrews 7:25 "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." What a comforting portrait of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our advocate with God the Father.
That brings us to the second comforting portrait of Christ our Savior…
"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." 1 John 2:2
Propitiation means satisfaction or covering; the fulfillment of a demand. It refers to God's estimation of Christ's sacrifice. God is a holy God and therefore hates sin. Because of God’s holy wrath against sin, sin must be punished. Jesus Christ took the punishment for the believer’s sin. God is fully satisfied by what Jesus Christ did on the Cross. The penalty for His broken law and man's sin has been fully satisfied (Romans 3:24,25; Hebrews 2:17). The Greek word translated "propitiation" (Romans 3:25) is also translated "mercy seat" in Hebrews 9:5. The mercy seat perfectly covered the law which was contained in the Ark (Exodus 25:17,21). This symbolizes propitiation--Christ covering the demands of God's law. That it is the blood of Christ which takes away our sins was depicted on the Day of Atonement when blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat by the high priest (Leviticus 16:11-17). It is just as the hymn says –
"Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."
Next, it is important to note that the sacrifice that Christ made for our sins is not only efficient for the payment of the sins of believers, but it is also sufficient for "the sins of the whole world." That simply means that everyone could have their sins forgiven if they would simply turn to Christ and believe on Him. Paul puts it this way, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." 1 Timothy 4:10
In this message we have looked at two of the Seven Comforting Portraits of Christ Our Savior. We have seen…