(Dr. Roger D. Duke is our guest blogger today. The author, though, is the great John Bunyan. Dr. Duke is cowriter with Phil Newton. Venturing all on God: Piety in the Writings of John Bunyan. This volume is one of in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series of Reformation Heritage Press and is slated for publication sometime in 2011.)
Christ Jesus: An Advocate Who is Always Ready to Defend the Believer
A . . . [particular] privilege that they have who have Jesus Christ to be their Advocate is this, He is always ready, always in court, always with the judge, then and there to oppose, if our accuser comes, and to plead against him what is pleadable for his children. And this the text implies where it saith, “We have an Advocate with the Father,” always with the Father. Some lawyers, though they are otherwise able and shrewd, yet not being always in court and ready, do suffer their poor clients to be baffled and nonsuited by their adversary; yea, it so comes to pass because of this neglect, that a judgment is got out against them for whom they have undertaken to plead, to their great perplexity and damage: but no such opportunity can Satan have of our Advocate, for he is with the Father, always with the Father; as to be a Priest, so to be an Advocate-“We have an Advocate with the Father.” It is said of the priests, they wait at the altar, and that they give attendance there, (I Cor 9:13); also of the magistrate, that as to his office, he should attend “continually on this very thing” (Rom 13:6). And as these, so Christ, as to his office of an Advocate, attends continually upon that office with his Father. “We have an Advocate with the Father,” always with the Father. And truly such an Advocate becomes the children of God, because of the vigilance of their enemy; for it is said of him, that “he accuseth us day and night,” so unweariedly doth he both seek and pursue our destruction (Rev 12:10). But behold how we are provided for him-“We have an Advocate with the Father.” If he come a-days, our Advocate is with the Father; if he come a-nights, our Advocate is with the Father.
. . . Hebrews shows us the carefulness of our Advocate, where it saith, He is gone “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb 9:24). Now, just the time present; NOW, the time always present; NOW, let Satan come when he will! Nor is it to be omitted that this word that thus specifies the time, the present time, doth also conclude it to be that time in which we are imperfect in grace, in which we have many failings, in which we are tempted and accused of the devil to God; this is the time, and in it, and every whit of it, he now appeareth in the presence of God for us. . . . This, then, that Jesus Christ is always an Advocate with the Father for us, and so continually ready to put a check to every accusation that Satan brings into the presence of God against us, is another of the privileges that they have, who have Jesus Christ for their Advocate.
Another privilege that they have who have Jesus Christ to be their Advocate is this, he is such an one that will not, by bribes, by flattery, nor fair pretenses, be turned aside from pursuing of his client’s business. This was the fault of lawyers in old time, that they would wrest judgment for a bribe. Hence the Holy One complained, that a bribe did use to blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the judgment of the righteous (I Sam 12:3; Amos 5:12; Deut 16:19).
There are three things in judgment that a lawyer must take heed of-one is the nature of the offence, the other is the meaning and intendment of the law-makers, and a third is to plead for them in danger, without respect to affection or reward; and this is the excellency of our Advocate, he will not, cannot be biased to turn aside from doing judgment. And this the apostle intendeth when he calleth our Advocate “Jesus Christ the righteous.” “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”; or, as another prophet calls him, to wit, “The just Lord-one that will not do iniquity”-that is, no unrighteousness in judgment (Zeph 3:5). He will not be provoked to do it, neither by the continual solicitations of thine enemy; nor by thy continual provocations wherewith, by reason of thy infirm condition, thou dost often tempt him to do it. And remember that thy Advocate pleads by the new covenant, and thine adversary accuses by the old; and again, remember that the new covenant is better and more richly provided with grounds of pleading for our pardon and salvation, than the old can be with grounds for a charge to be brought in by the devil against us, suppose our sin be never so heinous. It is a better covenant, established upon better promises.
Now, put these two together-namely, that Jesus Christ is righteous, and will not swerve in judgment; also, that he pleads for us by the new law, with which Satan hath nothing to do, nor, had he, can he by it bring in a plea against us, because that law, in the very body of it, consists in free promises of giving grace unto us, and of an everlasting forgiveness of our sin (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:25-30; Heb 8:8-13) O children, your Advocate will stick to the law, to the new law, to the new and everlasting covenant, and will not admit that anything should be pleaded by our foe that is inconsistent with the promise of the gift of grace, and of the remission of all sin. This, therefore, is another privilege that they are made partakers of who have Jesus Christ to be their Advocate. He is just, he is righteous, he is “Jesus Christ the righteous”; he will not be turned aside to judge awry, either of the crime or the law, for favour or affection. Nor is there any sin but what is pardonable committed by those that have chosen Jesus Christ to be their Advocate.
 John Bunyan, The Work of Jesus Christ as Advocate: Clearly Explained, and Largely Improved, for the Benefit of All Believers. This was excerpted from The Complete Works of John Bunyan, available from the E4 Group Electronic Software Library CD, internet http://www.freebiblesoftware.com/ This treatise is Bunyan’s exposition of 1 John 2:1. According to http://truthinheart.com/EarlyOberlinCD/CD/Bunyan/OpenInBrowser.html, this treatise was published in 1689, one year after John Bunyan’s death. The interested reader is also encouraged to see the on line library located at; http://www.mountzion.org/johnbunyan/text/bun-trinity.htm, for more of Bunyan’s works.
Duke, R, cowriter with Phil Newton. Venturing all on God: Piety in the Writings of John Bunyan. This volume is one of in the Profiles in Reformed Spirituality series of Reformation Heritage Press and is slated for publication sometime in 2011.