In the last few posts I’ve hopefully revealed a mediator or advocate or intercessor in a new light. In Mandatory Mediation I tried to show how the Holy Spirit is interceding for us in prayer. In Mediation from Above I hope you see how much God is really for you and in no way is He against you. We really need to see God as Jesus in His intercession for us. He reminds us of His love and goodness. He shows us what it looks like to live in the Kingdom of Heaven instead of stuck in the kingdom of fallen Adam. We get to step outside our limited understanding and self-condemnation into the light of His truth, love and goodness. That is our born-again experience. Jesus came to reveal the true nature of God. Our understanding of His nature was so distorted by our fallen condition that we failed to see His goodness. We hid in the bushes of shame, transitioned to a forest of rebellion and independence and chose a life apart from the source of life. Selfishness, stubborn independence, religion and the enemy have kept us from seeing His goodness. We died in the garden to the goodness of God and instead of running towards Him, we have hidden in ourselves.
Praise God for Jesus! His revelation of the goodness and love of God set us free from ourselves. His supernatural, DNA-changing presence in our lives, moves us from fallen-Adam thinking into glorious faith-empowered mountain movers. The Holy Spirit in us can’t wait to show us the goodness of God and jump out of us to reveal His goodness to all the world. When He does that, stuff happens. That is when it gets fun and exciting. That is when being His children is Heaven on Earth. Lives are radically changed. People encounter the love and power of God. Perspectives are reversed. Thinking is renewed. Jesus is revealed. The Gospel becomes real.
Still God is there ready to catch us when we stumble. Jesus is there ready to pick us up and dust us off when we fall down into the dust of wrong thinking. The Holy Spirit breathes truth back into our lungs after getting the breath of life knocked out of us when we fall down. Jesus is the “mercy-seat” that shields us from the lies. The polished pure and glorious gold of the ark reflects our image when we step close to the source of love. That Jesus, who is our God, steps in and is our advocate when we forget who we are and whose we are. Check out this verse:
1 John 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (ESV)
Like so much of the Bible, religion has twisted this passage. So instead of honoring a bunch of demonic inspired wrong thinking that makes God look like a moral robot of fury-filled terror let me show you some truth. Ready, set, GO!
First Grace is not freedom TO sin but freedom FROM sin. Sin is the thing that the devil uses to keep us cowering in the bushes in fear of the brutality of a non-existent god. Our Father in Heaven and our Brother at His side and His Spirit in us all agree that God sets us free from the power of sin, period. We can choose too but don’t have too. Like the Prodigal Son, poor choices put us in the pig pen, but we are free.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (ESV)
But if we do sin, then we know that Jesus is our advocate… but from what or who? Jesus is not interceding to keep an angry God from crushing us. Not possible. The cross proves it isn’t possible. God says that He has forgotten our sin (Heb 8,10). So who remembers our sin? We do. Yep, the problem is on our end. We find the same shame and guilt and condemnation that we found when we ate from the wrong tree in the Garden of Eden. We run to the bushes and hide all over again. The devil rolls in with his minions and crushes us with self-loathing. The demonic religious spirit says “I told you that you were just a nasty worm capable of the most horrible stuff.” Jesus steps in and does what He was always intended to do. He protects us. That is what this verse means:
1 John 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (ESV)
The Greek word for “propitiation” is the same word used in the Greek version of the Old Testament for “mercy-seat.” The mercy-seat was the lid for the ark of the covenant. In the ark was the stone tablets of the law, a jar of manna and the budding rod of Aaron. Inside the ark were all the reminders of our fallen nature. Inside the ark are all the “reasons” we seek self instead of God. Inside the ark are all the needs that God intended for us to find fulfilled in God instead of us. The law relationship was not God’s plan but a product of our “knowledge of good and evil” paradigms. God’s perfect law reveals our inability to actually keep all our stuff on the perfect good list. His intended relationship was in intimacy and communion just like the walks in the cool of the morning. Jesus, as the mercy-seat, separates us from that old way of relationship through the law, but instead we have a new relationship as a child of God. Likewise the manna is a reminder of God’s provision for our human condition. Our old way of thinking stopped at manna. Jesus is our bread of life. We see Jesus instead of manna. The budding rod is a reminder of our desire for control and rebellion. God takes our dead rebellion and brings new life. Jesus is the mercy-seat that reveals God’s supernatural power on the Earth to change circumstance. We never need to “take control” again since He is our King.
That is a very short explanation which I should expound upon in a future post, but let me get back to the issue at hand. God puts our sin under the mercy-seat (propitiation). Can you see now that we are on the outside of the ark? We are seated in Heavenly places with Christ (Eph 2:6). Jesus puts that sin (and all the condemnation with it) back in the ark where it belongs. He advocates for our position seated in the Heavenly places. In that place I see sin for what it is. It is a fallen-human distraction from a divine destiny. I am free from that stuff so I get to live outside of it. That is what God is talking about in this passage. That is why He goes on to say this:
1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, (ESV)
Seated in the Heavenly places we “hear” Him clearly. We see stairs, He says elevator. We see obstacles, He says opportunity. We see sickness, He says bondage. We see pain, He speaks hope. We hear Him and get to bring Him into every situation. We seed every circumstance with HOPE. We are becoming His very nature. We are being transformed from manifest goodness (glory) to manifest goodness. Every event is an opportunity to see the power of God change lives and the Gospel be revealed. That is what these next verses really mean:
1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (ESV)
So I am glad I have an advocate aren’t you? Now all the stuff is put into the box where it belongs. His “mercy-seat” protection keeps all the junk of a fallen-human-susceptible mind on the other side of a Kingdom of Heaven reality. I no longer need to be afraid. Even my occasional slips back into human thinking and behavior have Jesus waiting to catch me and be my biggest fan. So I like His advocacy. It is really mediation with a purpose.